Need cash? Pawn shops edge into the mainstream

Source: Candice Choi, Associated Press

At a time when banks have shut their doors on those with bad credit, a growing number of U.S. borrowers are pawning their jewelry, electronics and other valuables to make ends meet. Consumer advocates say the development is worrisome because the interest rates on loans from pawn shops can be as high as 20 percent a month. But pawn shop operators say they provide a critical lifeline to a group with few other options. "It's a short-term loan — it's designed to bail someone out and be done with it," said Ed Bean, who owns Suffolk Jewelry & Pawnbrokers in Boston.

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