The alliance favors a statewide regulatory framework over municipal ordinances. The group has filed lawsuits against several of the ordinances, which it said threatened businesses and limited borrowers’ access to credit.

The Houston ordinance, which is similar to those passed in other cities in Texas, limits payday loans to 20% of the borrower’s gross monthly income and auto title loans to 3% of the gross annual income of the borrower. the borrower or 70% of the value of the vehicle, whichever is less. The law, which entered into force on July 1, also limits single-installment loans to a maximum of three refinances and installment loans to a maximum of four installments.

Eloiso De Avila, an advocate who has advocated for the payday loan ordinance in El Paso, said tighter regulation was needed because many Texans live in places without a prescription. State legislation that failed last year would have indexed the maximum loan allowed to a borrower’s monthly income and capped the number of times a borrower could refinance a loan.

Mr De Avila, co-chair of the El Paso interfaith sponsorship organization, which is part of a network of faith-based and community organizations, said he had heard “all kinds of horror stories” about people in debt.

“People who turn to payday lenders are already at their end of the line,” De Avila said. “We realize there is a need, but God, don’t cheat them.”

Outside of Houston, Ms Richardson ended up losing her cars, as she feared. When her car alarm sounded one night, she got up in time to see a tow truck disappear with the Altima. The 4Runner was already gone.

Ms Richardson, whose mother passed away this summer, now has a stable job as a labor and delivery nurse – and a new car. She also has some tips for anyone considering starting a payday loan or car loan business.

“No matter how bad it goes,” she said, “don’t go.”

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