News & Media

New Payday Lending Rules from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Prompt Immediate Response from the Nation’s Largest Faith-Based Organizing Network

March 26, 2015

For Immediate Release:                          Contact: Kawana Lloyd, PICO National Network, 202-815-6908, klloyd@piconetwork.org 
Thursday, March 26, 2015                       

Clergy Leaders Say “Sneak Peak” Presents Opportunity to Organize and End the Worst Abuses in the Pay Day Loan Industry  

Washington, DCThe following statement is a response from the PICO National Network’s Moral Economy & Economic Dignity Campaign regarding the first public look at payday lending reforms from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB):

“In an economy that excludes real people and real families who are living paycheck to paycheck to support their loved ones, we are encouraged by the CFPB’s initial steps to  rein in predatory payday lenders.

“The Bureau’s announcement indicates a strong start: requiring lenders to extend loans that borrowers can truly repay rather than getting stuck in a cycle of debt.  We believe, however, that the possibilities of creating a moral economy that protects consumers and the most vulnerable people in our communities, can be even stronger. This 'sneak peak' into the CFPB’s ideas for reform present an exciting opportunity to organize --and end-- the worst abuses in the payday loan industry.

“Our faith traditions are clear:  Exploiting the working poor with payday lending is an egregious practice that goes against God’s word to help the poor and instead, puts a chokehold on some of America's most vulnerable families.

“Across the country, faith leaders and organizations have fought to rid our communities of predatory payday lenders and promote lending practices that respect the human dignity of our congregations and neighbors. Time and again, we’ve seen predatory lenders evade regulation or exploit legal loopholes so as to continue to peddle high-cost debt. The rules reining in these lenders should be airtight.   

“We want to see rules that end abusive lending. The best way to do that is guard against the unconscionable greed in the payday lending industry that devalues and disregards hard working people. No individual should be forced into loans they can’t afford.

“We have to be honest about the how the abuses and excesses of the payday lending industry wipe out the wealth of hard working families. There is no virtue in 400 percent annual interest rates. There’s no virtue in it creating systemic misery with false promises and dirty fine print to stay in business. There’s no virtue in financially crippling families in the midst of their hardships. That should be a sin, so we hope that the CFPB presses forward with even stronger rules.

“Public support for payday reform is significant among faith voters. A recent bi-partisan poll showed that 66 percent of Protestants and 57 percent of Catholics have unfavorable views of payday lenders. In fact, four out of five Christians (79 percent) would support a cap on the interest payday lenders charge.

“We will continue to push for sound payday lending reforms and to organize and protect people against the misery of poorly underwritten loans, repeat refinancing, triple-digit interest rates.”

“This first look at the CFPB’s rules is an opportunity to help organize our communities around payday lending reforms that protect people against poorly underwritten loans, repeat refinancing and triple-digit interest rates. Whether you are middle class, poor, or somewhere in between, nobody should ever have to face the immorality of systemic misery created on the backs of America’s families.  Exploiting the working poor with payday lending is an egregious practice that goes against God’s word to help the poor and instead, puts a chokehold on some of America's most vulnerable families.”  --Rev. Dr. Billy G. Russell, Pastor Greater Friendship Baptist Church in Minneapolis, President of Minnesota Baptist Convention, Board member of the National Baptist Convention



PICO National Network is the largest grassroots, faith-based organizing network in the United States. PICO works with 1,000 religious congregations in more than 200 cities and towns through its 60 local and state federations. PICO and its federations are non-partisan and do not endorse or support candidates for office. PICO urges people of faith to consult their faith traditions for guidance on specific policies and legislation. Learn more at www.piconetwork.org.