Turning Over the Tables of Justice: A Holy Week Action on Payday Lending
On Monday, March 21, ISAIAH congregations welcomed Federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray for “Turning Over the Tables of Justice, ”where he met with more than 200 ISAIAH leaders at Shiloh Temple in north Minneapolis about the national scourge of payday lending and reigning it in here in Minnesota.
The CFPB will release rules later this spring curtailing the number of loans that payday institutions can make to borrowers in a given year and are considering other measures that may be written into the rules to help people stay out of the worst of the payday debt trap.
“The work of ISAIAH and others has moved the CFPB to resolutely take on the issue of payday lending,” declared Director Cordroy.
In Minnesota, almost 40,000 people a year take out a payday loan. The average interest is almost 300% and on average, people are forced to take out nine additional loans just to pay the service fees. This industry is extracting hundreds of millions of dollars from our poorest communities and families by preying on people who find themselves in a financial crisis.
Metro area denominational leaders committed to work with Director Cordray, both nationally and here in Minnesota, to end this financial scourge on our people. Bishop Ann Svennungsen of the ELCA, Rev. Billy Russell, President of the Minnesota State Baptist Convention, AME Elder Reff, Bishop Howell of Shiloh Temple and many other clergy and religious leaders joined in the chorus of denouncing the wicked practice of predatory payday lending.
There is a lot of money spent by the payday industry both nationally and here in Minnesota to prevent any kind of industry regulation. Minnesota State Senators Hayden and Dibble committed to not take money from the payday industry and to encourage their colleagues to follow suit.
Senator Hayden is the author of a bill to limit interest rates on payday loans to 30%. Both Minnesota Representative Dehn and Representative Murphy also pledged to not take any money from the payday industry and to support a 30% interest rate bill in the House. MN Commissioner of Commerce Mike Rothman assured the group that the Dayton administration is on board with this plan.
ISAIAH leaders pledged to keep working with legislators and others to end this industry’s ability to prey on the most economically vulnerable people in Minnesota.