MEMPHIS, Tenn — There's new help and hope for victims of predatory lending in the Memphis area, which experts say is the payday lending capital of the world.
'Forward Memphis' announced a partnership with banks and non-profits to provide up to $5,000 to qualified applicants. Organizers said the Freedom Funding program has an interest rate is 10%, more than 40 times less than typical payday lenders.
The goal is for the money to help more low-to-moderate income Memphis area families on a better financial track, and not as bogged down by debt.
Forward Memphis said there are more than 100 payday lending storefronts almost entirely concentrated in African American and Latina communities - such as Hickory Hill and Whitehaven.
"Financial poverty impacts all of us. It impacts our education. It impacts our ability for workers to get good, companies to get good workers and it impacts safety. I mean, you can't predict what's going to happen with safety. You may live in Germantown but that doesn't mean that you're safe, so, this impacts all of us,” said Travis Moody, CEO of Forward Memphis.
To be eligible for program, you must be at least 18-years-old, have a household income of at least $30,000 a year, live, work or go to school in Shelby County, and complete the 'Forward Memphis' money coaching process.
“First Horizon is committed to investing in the financial health of low and moderate-income Memphians," said Keith Turbett, Community Development Manager at First Horizon. "We are excited to partner with Forward Memphis to provide a sustainable and affordable alternative to predatory lending.”