Moore says he can help consumers in new position

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, July 10, 2007

The man who came up second in the 2006 race for the South Carolina Governor's mansion is going to work for an industry that many consider questionable.

Former State Senator Tommy Moore recently resigned to take a job within the payday lending industry.

Tommy Moore knows he's leaping into a business that many people cast a skeptical eye towards. But he says he wouldn't jump into it if he didn't think he could help consumers.

For nearly three decades, Tommy Moore has been a fixture in South Carolina politics. His career serving in state office began way back in 1979.

But as of July 7, that career came to a close.

"It's exciting, and it comes with a lot of different emotions and a lot of different feelings. I've spent more than half of my life doing this," Moore said.

Moore's next paycheck will come from the Community Financial Services Association which is a group comprised of several payday lender businesses.

"With about 160 members who ask for reform, who support reform and instill best practices. They're transparent. Their fees are posted on their windows," Moore said.

But there are plenty of folks who say with this move, Moore is jumping from helping consumers to hurting them.

The payday lending industry has long been stereotyped as unscrupulous. It is built on providing short-term loans at high-interest rates that some say keep people in debt instead of providing a way out of it.

Moore says this reputation is a fact of life and that's why he wants and his new bosses want reform.

"We gotta make sure if you go to one store and have a loan. We need to make sure you have a tracking and you don't go to several stores and overextend yourself," Moore said.

Moore says he knows he's taking a risk with this job, but if he can create change in this industry, he'll be helping a lot of people.

"I understand this is a challenge. I understand this is my credibility. And I want to make sure people know I’m going to do everything I can to make sure people are protected," Moore said.

There is a big payday lending bill that's set to make its way through the South Carolina Legislature when it reconvenes.

Moore says he cannot influence that piece of legislation because he is barred by law from being involved in South Carolina government for a year.

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