Bank Loans at 499%!!!

Andy Spears
2 min readAug 31, 2021

Missouri Bank offers “Helix” loan product with rates up to 499% APR

Kendall Bank in Kansas City, Missouri is promoting a loan product through a lender called “Helix.” The Helix website explains:

Loan amounts range from $200 to $4,000 with a repayment term up to 24 months. Annual Percentage Rates range from 36% to 499%.

Umm, that’s a pretty expensive bank loan. In fact, if your short-term borrowing “needs” mean you need a 499% interest rate loan, you are quite likely to have additional borrowing needs in the near future.

That the loans are offered through a mainstream bank raises questions about a possible “rent-a-bank” scheme. In any case, it’s a bad product that will have a negative impact on consumers already facing difficult financial situations.

The Helix site also suggests:

When you need to quickly deal with unexpected expenses, Helix by Kendall Bank is the smart alternative to payday lenders, title loans, and bank overdraft fees.

Though the available term (up to 24 months) is longer than the typical payday loan (2 weeks), there’s really nothing smart at all about getting a loan with an interest rate of 499%.

The patina of legitimacy offered by Kendall Bank — a “real” bank instead of one of those sketchy payday stores — just might encourage consumers to try out the terrible product. In the end, though, borrowers will find Helix works just like any other payday predator — high rates, aggressive collections, and a seemingly endless cycle of debt.

Photo by Wai Siew on Unsplash

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Andy Spears

Writer and policy advocate living in Nashville, TN —Public Policy Ph.D. — writes on education policy, consumer affairs, and more . . .