©2019 by Go South

Georgia Legal Services

Savannah

About the Role

Our Go South fellow will help us start a new kind of lending program that works in the public interest. Small-dollar lending is currently big business in Georgia, particularly in Savannah, which is the headquarters of the largest title-pawn lender in the United States. Most banks and credit unions refuse to offer small-dollar loans, leaving private finance companies to fill the gap. Their financial products are generally overly burdensome for borrowers, with obscenely high interest rates and abusive terms. Many consumer protection watchdogs, including the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, have recognized these loans as debt traps that most borrowers are never able to repay, resulting in ruined credit reports, repossession of the borrower's car, and even loss of the borrower's home or employment. Our goal is to establish a lending program that works in the public interest. Part of the fellow’s work will be researching how best to organize the program and what products would be viable. We hope to compete directly with the private lenders and offer comparable products offering fair rates and terms. The fellow will put together a business plan, research grants and other potential funding sources, and draft required grant applications.

How We're Advancing Equity:

Key Skills & Qualifications (if any)