• Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

The Check 'n Go store at 2509 El Cajon Boulevard in North Park has closed down.

Activist Omar Passons, former president of North Park Community Association, welcomed the exit, saying, “I think it is a positive development to see them close up.” The land-use attorney added: “The rates that places like Check 'n Go charge are absurdly high, and I don't believe they contribute positively to our community.”

Capital Real Estate Ventures Inc. is trying to lease the 3049-square-foot property for $3 per foot (“negotiable”). Justin Earley, senior vice president with Capital, said Check 'n Go vacated because their lease ended in December, and they didn't renew after a rent increase. Earley sees its best use as a restaurant or café, emphasizing “it has parking, which is rare in North Park.”

The payday and title loan company opened sometime back on a run-down section of El Cajon Boulevard. East of that store are a car-insurance office, auto-repair shop, Lil B's restaurant, a closed marijuana dispensary, a massage spa, and San Diego Chicken Pie Shop. Across from the chicken eatery is the boarded-up former Coco's restaurant, usually splattered with graffiti.

Passons also expressed his concern about affordability in North Park. He said, “Our challenge as a community is to avoid becoming inhospitable to households across the income spectrum.”

Cincinnati-based Check 'n Go is the second-largest provider of short-term loans in the country. It has about 1300 stores in 31 states. The company did not respond to a request for comment about their departure.

Here's an example of a loan: A $250 payday loan, based on a 14-day loan term, would be 460% APR (annual percentage rate). The finance charge would be $44.11, so the payback would be $294.11.

Just west of the Check 'n Go at Arizona Street is the former AT&T building, where an apartment complex will be built. Before being fortified with steel panels over windows and doors, plus chainlink fencing, the building was constantly vandalized both inside and out.

  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

Comments

Wabbitsd Dec. 8, 2015 @ 3:38 p.m.

Interesting. So who does Mr. Passons and his friends suggest folks with horrible credit go if they wish to borrow money and get checks cashed if they don't have bank accounts? Rates are high for folks who are a poor risk. Regular banks don't loan to folks who are poor risks. Is Mr. Passons going to open his own wallet?

1

dwbat Dec. 8, 2015 @ 7:49 p.m.

Many people use pawn shops for short-term loans.

0

Wabbitsd Dec. 9, 2015 @ 11:54 a.m.

dwbat...do you think the neighborhood would welcome them?

0

dwbat Dec. 9, 2015 @ 12:40 p.m.

Cities/neighborhoods across the country have pawn shops. North Park, Hillcrest and Normal Heights already have pawn shops. Even Beverly Hills has pawn shops. And they don't just deal with the destitute.

0

jnojr Dec. 9, 2015 @ 12:30 p.m.

To use a pawn shop, you have to own something worth pawning and be prepared to accept a fraction of it's value.

0

dwbat Dec. 9, 2015 @ 12:59 p.m.

Obviously. But the working poor can (and do) have such items. I've even seen homeless people downtown with smartphones.

0

SanCarlosGuy2001 Dec. 8, 2015 @ 4:03 p.m.

Unfortunately for some, these types of loans become a viscous cycle of debt. They really should only be used in an emergency, with the debt paid off as soon as possible. Credit unions may offer some help with signature loans. They also offer share-secured loans, both options offer much lower rates to their members.

0

dwbat Dec. 8, 2015 @ 4:12 p.m.

I've been with the same credit union for more than 11 years. So I could probably get an emergency loan if I needed it. And at a much better rate.

1

Visduh Dec. 8, 2015 @ 9:23 p.m.

The main point here has been missed. Those businesses, raunchy as they are, do meet a need. Having one leave the 'hood doesn't mean that the need has gone away. Can you imagine one of them setting up shop in Birdrock, or Solana Beach, or Del Mar? Of course not! Affluent folks don't need to pay a fat fee just to convert a paper check into cash. Isn't that what banks are for? Ans: er, not exactly, if the customer doesn't have an account there. Payday loans are, as San Carlos Guy points out, a trap that some borrowers just can't end. And so they stay in perpetual debt to the local loan shark, oops, Check'n Go, for months or years, paying a huge rate of interest for a paltry loan.

Could the conventional banks make an attempt to meet those needs? They probably could do more than they do now, but there's always the matter of dealing with the unwashed and vaguely incoherent clientele that go with that. The "system" could do plenty to make check cashing businesses and payday loan sharks go away, if it wanted to. That would require some inconvenience in getting rid of paper checks, encouraging the use of bank accounts and direct deposit, and having a place to go for true emergency money. We have all seen just what the banks are capable of when it came nearly to bankrupting themselves a few years back with bad loans. Rather than just feeding the poor, a few of the charitable organizations could decide to provide rudimentary financial services to their clientele. But I've never heard of anything locally trying to do that.

0

dwbat Dec. 9, 2015 @ 7:35 a.m.

Yes, banks don't market their services to those less-affluent people. But Credit unions offer low-cost (and NO-cost) checking accounts. With their nationwide co-op network, ATM access is free. Even those who are "poor" [OK, not everyone] can join a credit union. Money-management education should begin in high school.

0

Wabbitsd Dec. 9, 2015 @ 1:45 p.m.

I appreciate credit unions, but these are people, for the most part, even credit unions cannot serve--would you want the financial institution holding your money to lend it out to people who probably will not pay it back? How much would you be willing to absorb? That is who we are talking about...they have already dipped below that line.

0

dwbat Dec. 13, 2015 @ 11:01 a.m.

Credit unions are generally conservative about making loans. They don't just pass out money like popcorn. So I don't worry about my credit union acting irresponsibly. Programs that get homeless off the streets and into FREE housing are apparently successful. Today's homeless person can possibly be tomorrow's credit union customer.

0

AlexClarke Dec. 9, 2015 @ 5:46 a.m.

"Back in the day" the operators of these kind of operations were called Loan Sharks. Instead of being shady organized crime types they are now legitimate businessmen. Either way the players are the same.

0

dwbat Dec. 9, 2015 @ 12:42 p.m.

I'm hoping the "punishment" for not paying back the loan isn't as harsh now.

0

dwbat Dec. 12, 2015 @ 10:07 a.m.

There's another payday loan/check cashing store on El Cajon Blvd., just west of the closed Palomar Card Club. [Handy for the losing card players, right?]

0

eastlaker Dec. 9, 2015 @ 2:35 p.m.

There has been some talk about the USPS adding a function--that is, handling banking for those who aren't able to qualify at banks or credit unions. Most European countries do this--it would be a great idea!

1

dwbat Dec. 9, 2015 @ 4:17 p.m.

I agree, eastlaker. [Europe is ahead of us on many things. Bullet trains come to mind.] But our malfunctioning Congress would have to authorize USPS to do banking, and the banks just might not like it.

0

AlexClarke Dec. 10, 2015 @ 6:20 a.m.

The USPS used to do banking "back in the day"

1

Wabbitsd Dec. 10, 2015 @ 1:20 p.m.

So...the Post Office, which cannot profitably run a railroad...should take on banking and loaning money? And whose money would be backing this? Why is this preferable to commercial institutions?

0

dwbat Dec. 10, 2015 @ 8:53 p.m.

Huh? The USPS has nothing to do with running a railroad. If you mean Amtrak, that is run by the National Railroad Passenger Corporation. The money "backing" it is the money deposited. It worked for decades before 1966. Did you read the article that I linked to above?

1

jnojr Dec. 14, 2015 @ 8:51 a.m.

So we can have the taxpayer eat the losses?!?!?!

The interest rate for payday loans is so high because so many borrowers default, and there really isn't anything you can do to them if they just don't pay. So you have to make a bucket off of the ones who DO pay. Having the government take over and loan for less just means the taxpayer will be taking it in the shorts. Government already hands out enough money.

0

Sign in to comment

Let’s Be Friends

Subscribe for local event alerts, concerts tickets, promotions and more from the San Diego Reader

Close