Unfair Lending Practices

Alabama law allows payday lenders to charge an annual interest rate of 455 percent for a two-week loan and 300 percent for a pawn. Any financial transaction that allows a triple-digit interest rate, specifies a short term of one month or less, and requires a balloon payment is generally considered to be predatory. These types of transactions target low-income individuals and families and trap people in a cycle of debt.

This fact sheet  This fact sheet outlines proposed predatory lending reform legislation for 2007.

Should Alabama Deregulate Basic Telephone Services?

Historically, Alabama has required utilities to provide and maintain essential, basic services at a reasonable cost through regulatory process. BellSouth, through its testimony on Senate Bill 114 and House Bill 211 before legislative committees, has acknowledged that provision of basic telephone services across the state is not a profitable endeavor. Is it realistic to expect that for-profit companies, with their primary mission to increase earnings for their stockholders, to continue to provide basic telephone services at a reasonable cost without any regulatory oversight?

This fact sheet  This fact sheet analyzes proposed bills that would deregulate basic telephone services.

IDAs: Building Assets to Break the Chains of Poverty

With just a small investment in a federally sponsored asset-building strategy known as Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), Alabama could help hundreds of low-income workers break the chains of poverty by saving for education, housing or entrepreneurship.

This fact sheet This fact sheet explains how IDAs work, how they're funded and how Alabama can move forward with this innovative program.

Getting By: The Challenge of Measuring Poverty

Defining poverty is a difficult task. The researcher who developed the poverty threshold called them a measure of "income inadequacy." That is, they reflect a general agreement about how much is too little to live on, rather than how much is enough.

This fact sheet This fact sheet describes how the government measures poverty and offers an alternative measure called the Self-Sufficiency Standard that better reflects the basic costs of living.

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