Payday lenders, who charge high fees and interest rates approaching a 500% for short-term loans, are pressuring their customers to call their Senators and oppose financial reform legislation that would regulate them for the first time. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California) reported that her offices have received more than 900 calls, all originating from the same few phone numbers, and that "all the callers seemed to be reading from the same script." She added, "What was most surprising was that the callers were opposing a bill that was designed specifically to protect them." Senator Kay Hagan (D-North Carolina) introduced an amendment to the financial reform bill currently under consideration in the Senate that would limit the number of loans a payday lender can make to an individual, and allow more options for repayment. The threat of regulation is spurring payday lenders to scare customers into opposing the protections. Check into Cash is handing customers fliers that say, "If we don't act today, Congress will create a new agency and a government takeover of your personal finances. The new agency would have to power to regulate and restrict your personal credit option." Fliers include contact information for California's Senators and instructs customers to call them and "Tell them you're angry about healthcare and now Congress wants to control your right to get credit. Tell them you've had enough and that the senator should stand firm against the administration's attempt to interfere in your financial decisions." One woman, who was paying an annual interest rate of about 180%, was worried Check into Cash might retaliate by calling in her loan if she refused to do what they asked.
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