By Sara Griffith and Josephine Varnier
Capital News Service
RICHMOND – Cruising down Broad Street between Virginia Commonwealth University and suburban Short Pump, you’ll see a string of businesses with names like Cash Advance, Cash-2-U and Fast Payday Loans. They’ll lend you money until your next paycheck – at interest rates critics call exorbitant.
The 23230 ZIP code boasts one of the highest concentrations of payday lending stores in Virginia, with almost one location for every 1,000 residents. The area is also among the poorer sections of metro Richmond, with a median household income about $10,000 below the state average.
Opponents of payday lenders often criticize the industry for targeting lower-income people. The businesses’ locations lend credence to such criticisms.
“These are dangerous,” said Dana Wiggins, responsible lending coordinator of the Virginia Poverty Law Center. “People become dependant on the loans and begin using them for everyday living things.”