Predatory Lending: Easy Money

Subprime lenders make a killing catering to poorer Americans. Now Wall Street is getting in on the act

It's a drizzly morning on Bankhead Highway, a hardscrabble stretch of Atlanta pocked by industrial parks and housing projects, but the miserable weather isn't enough to slow business at Title Brokers. For Title Brokers, a small pawnshop that lends money to borrowers willing to hock the title to their car for a few hundred bucks--and up to 25% a month in interest--Mondays and Fridays are without fail the busiest days. "Monday's for folks broke from the weekend, and Friday's when they get paid and stop by to make a payment," says the shop's tough-as-nails manager, Betty Autry.

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