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Symposium Investigates Payday Lending

MARCH 23, 2009—On May 1, 2009, the Law School's Consumer Protection Clinic and LSS Financial Counseling (part of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota) are co-sponsoring a symposium entitled "Financial Quicksand: Understanding Payday Lending in Minnesota."

"Consumers typically use payday loans to ride out a financial crisis but then become overburdened by the exorbitant interest rates and short repayment terms that can keep them in a cycle of debt," says Clinical Professor Stephen Meili, who is helping coordinate the symposium. Payday loans via the Internet may even bypass state consumer protection laws and licensing requirements. The symposium will review problems created by the "fringe banking" industry (e.g., pawn shops, check-cashing outlets, tax-refund and payday lenders), with particularly focus on Internet lending.

Speakers will include Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson, LSS Financial Counseling Program Director Dan Williams, Community Action Duluth Executive Director Angie Miller, and Superior Choice Credit Union's GoodMoney Micro Loan Program Coordinator Lisa Hesslegrave. LSS Financial Counseling has been working with clients caught up in payday lending cycles for more than a decade, and the Consumer Protection Clinic has drafted proposed legislation that would more strictly regulate payday lending in Minnesota.

The $40 event, of particular interest to attorneys, financial counselors, policymakers, and consumer protection and other advocacy groups, is open to the public. It will take place at the Center for Changing Lives, 2400 Park Ave., Minneapolis, from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (lunch provided). Registration is required by April 24, 2009.

For registration and symposium details, go to http://ga3.org/lssmn/events/paydayloansymposium/details.tcl.

For more information, call 1-888-577-2227, ext. 296, or email marie.garmoe@lssmn.org.