Payday Lending in Lincoln
Lincoln is the capital of the state of Nebraska, but it is known to many as the home of the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers. In particular, it’s known for their football team, which boasts a storied history that dates back to 1890. The Cornhuskers have won five national championships and are one of a few teams to have over 800 wins in program history. But, Lincoln is more than the university and its football program.
Known as the “Star City,” Lincoln has an estimated population of 280,364. A large percentage of the population is made up of refugees from Vietnam and the Middle East. As of 2010, 52 different languages are spoken at Lincoln public schools, making for a surprisingly diverse population in the heart of the American Midwest. Lincoln residents also have access to over 125 individual parks, which are connected by trails.
While there are many attractions for Lincoln residents to enjoy, poverty is a problem for many. 15.5% of Lincoln residents (approximately 43,456 people) live below the federal poverty line, compared to an average of 12.4% across the state of Nebraska. This population is vulnerable to predatory lending traps. In fact, in 2015, 8.2% of Nebraskan households used high-risk credit products such as payday or title loans.
Payday Loans in Lincoln
Predatory lenders may not be hiding under your bed or lurking around every corner, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t a big nightmare that is best avoided. Predatory lending occurs when lenders take advantage of customers in desperate financial straits by charging interest that is too high, making repeat loans, and/or using aggressive collection practices, among other disreputable practices.
Payday loans in Nebraska are legal and regulated thanks to the Delayed Deposit Services Licensing Act (Neb. Stat. Ann. §§ 45-901), which was originally passed in 1994. “Delayed deposit” is another term for payday loans, meaning borrowers write a post-dated check as collateral for their loan. That check is then cashed on the date on the check, presumably on their payday. Unfortunately, there is no database that shows the exact number of payday loans that were used in the state, but we do know Nebraskans paid $30.8 million in payday fees in 2016.
While there are some consumer-friendly laws in the state, such as limits on how many checks lenders can hold from one person (two) and limits on loan amounts ($500), don’t forget that the average APR on a 14-day loan is still 459%. While the initial loan might not seem like much, that is intentional. Lenders make more money when you can’t pay back your initial loan on time.
If you are the victim of predatory lending practices, you can file a complaint with the Nebraska Department of Banking and Finance (NBDF).
More information about predatory lending laws in Nebraska can be found here.
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Local Resources to Help Lincoln Residents Avoid Predatory Lenders
High-risk, short-term loans exist because there is, unfortunately, a market for them. People encounter emergencies all the time and need money quickly to pay unexpected bills, along with the expected ones. Medical emergencies are a prime example, as pricey medical bills can make it difficult for financially strained individuals to cover their basic expenses. Given these stressors, taking out a payday loan might seem like a responsible choice. While lenders probably won’t mention this, there are other options that don’t require never ending fees and payments.
Total per Household
Apparel & Services
Food Consumed at Home
Life and Other Insurance
Pensions and Social Security
Food Assistance Resources in Lincoln
Nearly 14% of Lancaster County residents are at risk of becoming hungry, of which only 49% are eligible for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). You can check here to see if you qualify. The following resources also provide emergency meal assistance to families in need:
- Address: 301 Centennial Mall S; Lincoln, NE 68508
- Phone: 402-471-3121
- Address: 4840 Doris Bair Cr. Ste. A; Lincoln, NE 68504
- Phone: 402-466-8170
- Address: 3901 North 27th Unit 1; Lincoln, NE 68521
- Phone: 402-476-4357
A schedule of other pantries and meal sites can be found here.
Healthcare Resources in Lincoln
Lincoln also has options if you need low-cost medical care. Many Lincoln residents struggle to pay their medical bills. In fact, the median medical debt in Lancaster County is $845, compared to $578 statewide. First, Nebraska residents should check to see if they are eligible for the Nebraska Medical Assistance Program, otherwise known as Medicaid. You can also visit one of these free health clinics:
Clinic with a Heart – provides free walk-in healthcare
- Address: 1701 S. 17th Street; Lincoln, NE 68502
- Phone: 402-421-2924
People’s City Mission Free Medical Clinic – provides dental, chiropractic, and mental health care
- Address: 401 N 2nd St; Lincoln, NE 68505
- Phone: 402-817-0980
Rent Assistance in Lincoln
Food and healthcare are vitally important, and so is having a roof over your head. If you make less than $20,000 a year in Lincoln, 16% of your earnings are going towards housing. Thankfully, Lincoln residents have other places to turn besides payday loans when they are short on rent. In addition to food services, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (NDHHS) also offers emergency rent/mortgage assistance. We also know that the brutal Winters in Nebraska are associated with high heating costs. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development offers utilities assistance via NDHHS as well.
Lancaster County residents can also contact County Human Services, which can provide services like rent assistance and utility assistance to eligible individuals. They even help with other necessities like medical care. If they cannot help you, they can refer you to various other local charities and non-profits, such as:
- Address: 2241 O Street; Lincoln, NE 68510
- Phone: 402-474-1600
- Address: 5700 R St; Lincoln, NE 68505
- Phone: 402-434-5500
With housing, food, and medical costs mounting, it can be tempting to turn to payday loans as a quick fix. However, these risky products can lead to debt that takes a long time to correct. Checking out the resources noted above might help you avoid predatory lenders now and in the future.
- Less than $20,000:16.0%
- $20,000 to $34,999:16.7%
- $35,000 to $49,999:14.4%
- $50,000 to $74,999:19.0%
- $75,000 or more:31.9%
Median Housing Value
% of Housing Units with a Mortgage
Median Monthly Cost (w/ mortgage)
Median Monthly Cost (w/o mortgage)
- “We’ve Found Peace in This Land,” Parade Magazine. Accessed May 24, 2017. https://parade.com/115078/ninaburleigh/10-from-the-mideast-to-the-midwest/
- “Census Business Builder: Regional Analyst Edition – 2.3” S. Census Bureau. Accessed June 8, 2018 https://cbb.census.gov/rae/#
- “Experian’s 2016 State of Credit Report” Experian. Accessed June 8, 2018 LiveCreditSmart.com
- “Debt in America: An Interactive Map” Urban Institute. Accessed June 8, 2018 https://apps.urban.org/features/debt-interactive-map/
- “2012-2016 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Housing: Selected Housing Characteristics” U.S. Census Bureau. Accessed June 8, 2018 https://factfinder.census.gov
- “2012-2016 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Housing: Financial Characteristics“ U.S. Census Bureau. Accessed June 8, 2018 https://factfinder.census.gov