(AP) When Elliott Clark's wife broke her ankle, she couldn't work and his paycheck didn't cover the bills.
So he got a payday loan for the house payment, then another to pay the gas bill, and another to keep the lights on. In five years, they paid about $10,000 in interest on about $2,700 in loans.
It's cases like the Clarks that have caused Gov. Jay Nixon to dub the industry a "voracious predator." Nixon is proposing to transform Missouri's payday lending laws from some of the most lax to the most stringent nationally.
But industry lobbyists say no change is needed, and some Republican legislative leaders remain skeptical.
Payday loans give borrowers money in exchange for a check that is cashed on their next payday. Instead of having that check cashed, borrowers can pay the interest and roll the loan over to the next pay period.
Clark said his payday loans ballooned as fees and interest accumulated when he renewed loans repeatedly. He managed to pay off the debt. But this month, he had to take out two more payday loans totaling over $1,000. He hopes to pay that off by Feb. 1.