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According to, Money Smart Week Wisconsin, a public awareness initiative, (October 10-17th) “aims to build your financial knowledge so you can deal with your own money more quickly, confidently and shrewdly. “
Appleton Area School District has received the 2009 award for best practices through the Council on Financial Literacy, established by Governor Jim Doyle, the group that oversees Money Smart Week.

Is Wisconsin smart with its money? There has been considerable talk in our local newspapers on payday lending, which begs the question, is payday lending smart money? After Wisconsin lifted its cap on lending, once set at 18% in the mid 1990’s, payday lending stores have taken our state by storm.

The Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) sites that the average borrower pays $800 to borrow $300. As the borrower attempts to pay the loan back, they fall behind on living expenses and look for assistance in meeting basic needs. This puts a burden on our state and county budgets as well as social service organizations that provide food and assistance to cover rent and utilities.

Most payday lending locations are part of out-of-state franchises that have no commitment to community investment. Unlike most banks and credit unions, payday lending stores do not give back to the local community. Jobs created by these lending stores offer very low pay, little to no benefits and have high turnover rates.

Our Representatives and Senators need to hear that payday lending is a burden on our communities, it teaches citizens to become financially dependant rather than secure, and it is absolutely not money smart. We need a cap on payday lending.

ESTHER is collecting stories of those impacted by the negative practices of payday lending. If you or someone that you know has a story, please contact us. If you were an employee of a payday lending store, please contact us to share your experience.

For more information, visit:

Wisconsinites for Responsible Lending

Center for Responsible Lending

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