East Texas pawnshop sees rise in customers struggling to pay bills

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Americans are looking for extra money in the middle Record inflation for 40 yearsand they rush to pawnshops to help pay the bills.

Patrece Ward told NewsNation at a Dallas pawn shop, “I’m just hoping to cover the gas I need for my vehicle, maybe some food, or whatever I need until my payday.”

According National Association of Pawnbrokersthe average customer doesn’t have access to traditional banking or credit for a small loan, and pawnshops are able to offer the short-term help they need.

Scott Benson has been in the business for almost 40 years. He has a store in Athens and a new location in Malakoff and said business is booming.

“We’ve had a pretty dramatic increase in people needing to come in and get short-term loans,” Benson said. “There is a huge increase in products coming into the store.”

Benson said that in his Athens store alone, the number of people applying for loans had increased by 30%.

“Right now the most common reason we’re only giving out small loans is because people are buying gas to get to and from work. Behind that is groceries, and probably the third most common reason we hear about is just to pay for their utilities,” Benson said.

He said he is concerned about the growing number of loan applicants.

“Overall, all the pawnshops are talking about how their loan balances are growing faster than they’d like,” Benson said. “We can go to the bank and borrow money to lend. But it becomes a bit of a problem if clients have trouble repaying their loans, I have to repay my loan. »

Kelly Community Credit Union President and CEO Michelle Small said that while times are tough, people should think twice before applying for loans.

“So you have to sit down and [think] how are you going to pay that back,” Small said. “I always say every dollar you make, you have to tell it where it’s going to go before you make it.”

It is for this reason that so-called small loans are not always the best first option.

“We’ve all had a problem at one time or another and using the resources at your disposal to put it all together is a headache.”

One of those ways could be through organizations that give back to the community.

“I would tell you people who got this situation path is a great resource. There’s 903help.org,” Small said. “Using the resources that are here in our community, because we actually have a community that is very caring, and there are a lot of resources out there to help someone when they are in this emergency. .”

Small said if there was a way to get money without taking out a loan, do it. However, this may not always be the case.

“Consider a loan, but know how much you will repay. What does it really look like and what is it going to do for your budget and your situation,” Small said.

As for Benson, he said he was just happy to be able to help those in need.

“When someone comes here and needs to borrow a little money to, you know, buy diapers for their kids, or put fuel in your vehicle to get to and from work. Those times I feel like I’m providing a very valuable service,” Benson said.

A service that seems all the more necessary as East Texans continue to discover it.


Small said if someone is looking for a loan, they are looking for something they need or want.

When looking for a loan, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How are you going to repay it?
  • What will it look like?
  • How much does this cut into how much you earn?
  • Where will this money come from?

Small also said that if you want a loan from an institution, go to where you do your banking first.

“They know you better than they know your situation, how can they help you.”


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