Religious Leaders Call for Action Against Predatory Lending

Aug 16, 2016

Faith leaders from across Virginia are joining forces with religious figures from around the country to press federal regulators to take action against predatory lending. The move comes in reaction to a new federal rule designed to protect consumers. 

From his position as minister at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church in Richmond, Rodney Hunter says he sees firsthand the devastation of predatory lending. He says every month, the church is approached by yet another victim of car-title loans or payday loans, people who come to the church looking for help paying for utilities or making the rent. He says that’s hurting the church and that’s not fair.

“And that’s all we’re asking. Be fair about it. If you are going to do the loan, be fair. Isn’t that the American way, fairness and justice for all?"

Willie Gable of the National Baptist Convention speaks to religious leaders from across the country about predatory lending at the United States Capitol.
Credit Michael Pope

And so Hunter is joining forces with religious leaders from across the country who are calling on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to strengthen its rule on predatory lending. Specifically, they would like to see the number of loans these companies can issue a year limited to one rather than six. Willie Gable of the National Baptist Convention says he would also like to see Congress limit the loans to 36 percent interest. 

“Usury, in my opinion, it’s just plain wrong. It’s legalized loan sharking and it’s blood money."

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will be taking public comment on the proposed rule until early October.