Local Church Helps With Debilitating Payday Loan Debt

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Imagine paying up to 450% interest, with no end in sight.

A longtime Springfield church is stepping in to help those drowning in payday loan debt.

Pastor Danny Chisholm of University Heights Baptist Church was giving a sermon on Jesus bringing good news to the poor. Then he said that a light went on in his mind – how to do just that.

“I live paycheck to paycheck, but yeah, it made me feel good,” Sandie Cartwright said.

“Everything is fine now,” she said.

Cartwright drives his truck debt-free – a feat she never thought possible.

“I was paying $ 70 a month, and $ 15 went to principle,” she said.

That was her situation with her monthly bill to a payday loan company – until her paydays stopped coming.

“I got the loan for our truck and then I lost my job so I needed the money,” Cartwright said.

And, with that, she has lost all hope of getting out of the bad decision she says she made to go to a securities lender.

“I think I owed them around $ 4,500, with no way to pay them anymore.”

Then came a windfall. She was told about a church with a plan to help people like her who are drowning in high interest debt.

“Some of the averages go up to 450% interest,” said Pastor Chisholm.

He hoped to find a way to free himself from this slavery.

“The wonderful thing about it is that the new loan they are paying off is at a significantly reduced rate compared to what they were paying,” Chisholm said. “The money is provided by our church, the loan is generated there by the credit union, and the person, when paying off the new loan, is actually paying the credit union.”

University Heights Baptist says it’s a way to show the love of Jesus in a tangible way.

“When you’ve been in this loan for a long time, you think you’ll never get out of it, and it consumes you. You think about it all the time and, for it to break free from it, it’s just remarkable,” did he declare.

Chisholm has seen a lot in Cartwright’s place – and has many other testimonials to tell.

“She was able to get help with her loan and therefore she continued with a connection to our church.” She made friends in our church and she continued to be involved, and that has been a beautiful thing. “

Chisholm hopes other churches will start doing the same program.

About 25 or 30 people have gone through the program so far. They also get a mentor to help them along the way.

If you would like to learn more about obtaining or providing help, you can call the church at 417-862-0789.

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