For more information on Southern's ADA Compliance efforts, please visit our Accessibility Page

By Salena Zito

CLEVELAND, MISS. — It was such an easy trap to fall into.

All Jennifer Williams needed was an extra $100 to make it to her next paycheck. Back in 2006, she had just started teaching at the local high school and money was tight.

The then-24-year-old knew no bank would give her money because of her spending habits in college. “If there was a textbook for doing everything wrong, well, I did it and messed up my credit,” she explained.

She asked a fellow teacher how she managed to make ends meet and was pointed to one of those bright yellow buildings with a blinking “CASH” sign out front, which gave her the loan she needed.

“I originally borrowed $400. I had to pay an $87-a-month fee to pay it back,” Williams said.

She couldn’t afford the fees. Three years later, she owed nearly $5,000 to nine different payday lenders, at nine different locations, and was totally overwhelmed.

To continue reading, click here.