Reese*, a mother of two, first took out a payday loan to stay on top of her bills while waiting for her first paycheck from her new job. At the time, Reese felt that her credit wasn’t high enough to qualify for a traditional personal loan and believed taking out a payday loan was her only option to support her family.
Unfortunately, the “short-term” loan quickly spiraled into a debt trap. Reese couldn’t afford to pay the entire principal and interest of her loan in one payment. “I went back and forth in my head… I really can’t afford to take the whole paycheck and pay this back. Will I be able to do all the payments?”
Ultimately, she had to pay a fee to renew her loan for another few weeks. And eventually, Reese became trapped in a costly renewal cycle in which none of her payments went towards her principal.
Reese remained in the payday loan debt trap for months. Then, while reading a newsletter from Interfaith Outreach, she learned about Exodus Lending. After researching our organization and speaking with her social worker, Reese decided to reach out, join our program, and finally break the cycle of predatory debt.“Not having to take my paycheck [to the lender] every time a payment went through, and paying it, and pulling it back out. That was a relief for me.”
With payday loan debt behind her thanks to our program, Reese now has the financial flexibility to build up her savings and begin the process of becoming a homeowner. She also shares Exodus Lending as a resource in her community and even helped her sister enroll with us.
*We have changed the participant’s name because of confidentiality.