Faith Leaders Call for Cap on Payday Lending Rates
Community members and faith leaders marched in St. Petersburg on Sunday to call for an end to payday lending abuses.
ST. PETERSBURG – Faith leaders and impacted community members gathered in front of a payday lending storefront Sunday (Oct. 29) to join together for a Prayer Walk to call on the Florida Constitution Revision Commission to sponsor a proposal that would put a rate cap on predatory payday lending on the ballot.
“After much prayer, the African Methodist Episcopal Church has decided to increase its efforts to end payday lending abuses in Florida,” said Adam J. Richardson, Bishop of the 11th Episcopal District of the AME Church of Florida. “This is an economic assault on the poor by the payday lending industry and there is an absence of meaningful legislation protecting the most vulnerable among us. The faith community has been called to stem the tide of heartbreak, despair, and hopelessness caused by payday lending.”
The Prayer Walk started at ACE Cash Express on Central Avenue and concluded in prayer at the nearby AMSCOT – the Money Superstore.
“Payday loans carry average annual interest rates of more than 278 percent and between 2005 and 2016, payday lenders stripped more than $2.5 billion in fees from Floridians,” said the Rev. Phil Miller-Evans, Church of the Beatitudes. “In 2015 alone, these predatory practices cost families in our state more than $300 million. We see payday loans trap people in our congregations and communities. Faith leaders are calling on a ballot measure as a moral action to solve this problem in a way that is best for the people of Florida through a usury rate cap.”
Representatives from six churches across the Tampa Bay area attended the Prayer Walk. Richardson and Miller-Evans were joined by the Rev. James Golden, 11th District of the AME Church, the Rev. Tammy Snyder, Bayshore Baptist Church, and impacted community members, like John Turner.
“I ended up paying over $1,000 for a $200 loan,” Turner said.
Once every 20 years, Florida’s Constitution provides for the creation of a 37-member revision commission for the purpose of reviewing Florida’s Constitution and proposing changes for voter consideration. The Constitution Revision Commission meets for approximately one year, traveling the State of Florida, identifying issues, performing research and possibly recommending changes to the Constitution. Any amendments proposed by the CRC would be placed on the 2018 General Election ballot.
For information about the CRC, go to flcrc.gov.
For information about the Floridians for Responsible Lending, go to stopthedebttrapflorida.org.
Photo courtesy of Floridians for Responsible Lending.
Payday Loans | Debt | Constitutional Revision Commission | Floridians for Responsibile Lending | Local News
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