Payday Loans Vicious Cycle: Desperate Americans Turn to Advance America

Fulmer attributes that competitive marketplace — made up of other emergency, short-term lenders -- to the fact that "the small and the larger financial credit institutions, you know, really don't offer consumers a small short-term loan anymore.

"Anytime you offer a product, you want to make sure the consumer uses it responsibly and is satisfied with the service we provide," he said.

'GMA' Gets Answers

Fulmer says Advance America offers an option for over a million of American consumers facing financial difficulty.

"Overwhelmingly, the consumers who use our product use it responsibly," he said.

Hawkins says she tried to negotiate with Advance America, as did White, to no avail.

But when "Good Morning America" asked Fulmer if the company would help, he said, "absolutely."

"We work with any consumer who comes to us and demonstrates a willingness to repay us and, you know, can't."

A few days after our interview, Hawkins got a call from Advance America. Her interest rate was reduced from 365 percent to zero, and the company says she can hold off on paying until things get easier.

Advance America told White she can now pay $20 a month until her loan is paid off, with no more fees.

That's good news for White and Hawkins, but today 19 million Americans are still intertwined with payday loans and no end in sight.

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