Column: Payday loans become disaster for Washington man

"It was holiday generosity that ultimately led Tyrone Newman to make a desperate deal.

And who could blame him?

He had been laid off and unemployed for a year, picking up the kids and doing laundry while his wife worked as a security guard. So you can understand why a 47-year-old guy would want to celebrate a bit after a good, long year at a solid job.

“I did it all up. I bought a tree this time. We got a turkey with all the trimmings,” Newman told me, his golden eyes growing wide as he explained the largess that was his undoing. “You know, you get happy, and you just start spending.”

All told, the maintenance man for a Northeast Washington apartment building went overboard by about $1,500.

Come January, he didn’t want his wife to know he’d spent that month’s mortgage payment on Christmas gifts. Stuck in traffic on the way to work, the radio spoke to him.

“Get cash NOW! Bad Credit? NO PROBLEM!” he remembered the booming voice on the radio speaking directly to him. He called. And within a couple of hours, $500 was in his bank account.

The interest rate? 651 percent."

Get the Story:
Petula Dvorak: Payday loan disaster: A holiday splurge leads to a 651% interest rate (The Washington Post 3/9)

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