Our friends at the Center for Responsible Lending have put out an alert about a growing threat to military families: payday lenders who gouge them with exhorbitant rates and fees. Here are the stats from their new report (pdf):

*** Active-duty military personnel are 3 times more likely than civilians to have taken out a payday loan

*** One in five active-duty military personnel were payday borrowers last year.

*** Predatory payday lending costs military families over $80 million in abusive fees every year.

There's a bi-partisan effort to rein in the new loan sharks. North Carolina Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole, along with Richard Durbin (D-IL), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Jim Talent (R-MO), and Tom Harkin (D-IA), has introduced an amendment to the Defense Authorization Act designed to protect military families from these lending abuses.

According to the Center, "Dole's amendment would limit annual interest rates to 36 percent for loans made to military families. Such action is crucial at at time when our service members are being exploited with loans at annual rates of 400 percent and higher."

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