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ProPublica: How short-term loans turn into life-long debt




AmeriCash Loans of Missouri is seen on Dec. 12, 2013 in St. Louis. High-cost lenders, like AmeriCash, exploit laws to sue tens of thousands of Americans every year. The result: A $1,000 loan grows to $40,000.
AmeriCash Loans of Missouri is seen on Dec. 12, 2013 in St. Louis. High-cost lenders, like AmeriCash, exploit laws to sue tens of thousands of Americans every year. The result: A $1,000 loan grows to $40,000.
Whitney Curtis/AP Images

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Five years ago in St. Louis, a single mother took out a payday loan for $1,000. That small-scale loan ballooned rapidly, and became a $40,000 debt.

She's certainly not alone. Thousands of Americans have similar stories of how high-interest loans spiraled out of control. Now, a Propublica investigation looks at how lenders are turning to legal action to collect on those debts. For more, we're joined by Paul Kiel, reporter with Propublica.