Borrow $5,000, End up Repaying $42,000: How Super High-Interest Loans Have Boomed in California

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JoAnn Hesson, 68, sits among her moving boxes and personal belongings in her apartment in Rancho Santa Margarita. Hesson took out several high-interest installment loans in 2015 and is considering filing for bankruptcy. She has since moved to Phoenix to be closer to family. (Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

JoAnn Hesson, 68, sits among her moving boxes and personal belongings in her apartment in Rancho Santa Margarita. Hesson took out several high-interest installment loans in 2015 and is considering filing for bankruptcy. She has since moved to Phoenix to be closer to family. (Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

JoAnn Hesson, sick with diabetes for years, was desperate.

After medical bills for a leg amputation and kidney transplant wiped out most of her retirement nest egg, she found that her Social Security and small pension weren’t enough to make ends meet.

As the Marine Corps veteran waited for approval for a special pension from the Department of Veterans Affairs, she racked up debt with a series of increasingly pricey online loans.

In May 2015, the Rancho Santa Margarita resident borrowed $5,125 from Anaheim lender LoanMe at the eye-popping annual interest rate of 116%. The following month, she borrowed $2,501 from Ohio firm Cash Central at an even higher APR: 183%.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

A Los Angeles Times graphic shows how extremely high interest rate loans have exploded in California.

A Los Angeles Times graphic shows how extremely high interest rate loans have exploded in California.

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