Chelsea Story | Participant Stories | Exodus Lending - Exodus Lending

Chelsea’s Story

By Kaitlyn Szabo February 26, 2020

We recently reached out to our participants and recent graduates in order to invite them to a participant-led listening session. There was much excitement from participants, like Chelsea, to attend because they were eager to share their experience.

Similarly to thousands of Minnesotans, Chelsea struggled to pay off her payday loans. “I was very relieved to have found Exodus. I had gotten caught in the trap of the never-ending cycle of re-upping the loans each month because I could never seem to get enough cash all at once to pay them off.

“Exodus was my saving grace!”

While reflecting on her personal experience, Chelsea sees that the payday loan crisis is a systemic issue. “Most people, even those who would not necessarily consider themselves ‘poor’ are only a few lost pay periods away from a financial crisis.”

“It is not that poor people necessarily lack the knowledge that it is better to save up money for a rainy day, it’s that there is no money to save after necessities are covered. So what looks like a foolish choice from the sidelines may well be the only viable choice for the person going through the crisis. It is not that people don’t want to be responsible, it is that they lack the resources to be able to respond to a crisis in a ‘healthier’ or ‘wiser’ way.”

At Exodus Lending, we agree wholeheartedly. As a society, we must restructure our institutions so that they meet everyone’s needs, including those struggling with financial hardship. Chelsea, for example, imagines a microloan program offering matching grants to help low-income people save.

“I also think that the people who typically create policies that affect lower-income people need to be educated about all the myriad things that create barriers to financial independence in our lives. Things that wealthier people would dip into their savings to handle, become crises for those of us without any savings to fall back on.”

Living wages. Affordable housing. Financial education for children and adults. Access to affordable credit. Certainly, all Minnesotans deserve these things and more to live a life of dignity. What they don’t deserve? Exploitative, usurious loans with triple-digit interest rates. That is to say, no one should struggle with predatory payday loans. In short, that’s why we’re fighting to get a 36% effective interest rate cap (including fees) for small-dollar loans in Minnesota.

After battling with payday lenders for far too long, Chelsea is happy to join this fight for legislative justice. “I am happy to know that you are working on legislation to limit interest on these types of loans. I hope that it passes!”

*We have changed the participant’s name because of confidentiality.