At Fort Sill, High-Interest Lenders Circle The Gates
LAWTON, Okla. – Just outside the front gates of the sprawling Fort Sill military installation, in a scrubby corner of the windswept Great Plains, a panorama of “military loan” brokers, pawn shops and car stereo dealers awaits.
In this landscape of high-interest, easy credit, Mike, a U.S. Army Private First Class from Kansas, began a downward spiral into debt — one that has left him sleeping in his friend’s garage, surviving on only $148 every month.
Recently he was reprimanded for not getting his required military haircut. He just didn’t have the money, he said.
“I was actually debt-free my entire life, until I joined the Army,” said Mike, who, like most soldiers at Fort Sill, spoke on the condition that he be identified only by first name because he is not allowed to speak to the media without clearance from superiors.