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Byline: Francis X. Gilpin
Dec. 17--By state law, payday lenders weren't supposed to dole out more than $500 each time Terrence T. Cooper borrowed from them.
Yet, when the Montgomery computer salesman filed for bankruptcy protection last year, four of his 11 outstanding cash advances topped $500.
Cooper isn't alone in falling prey to payday lenders. For those in the private sector, government workers, members of the military, virtually anyone who needs cash in a hurry, there are plenty of places to go in Montgomery.
The Capital City is home to 78 payday loan stores. Mobile, state licensing records show, is the only other Alabama municipality with more -- one more. Four payday lenders control 43 of Montgomery's 78 outlets.
Payday advances came into their own in the early 1990s when banks cut …