Fighting the vicious loan cycle

3 dozen hear arguments for petitions to limit ‘payday loans’

W.T. Edmonson, center, president of Jefferson City Congregations United, listens as Anne Schneider of First Presbyterian Church gives a presentation about predatory lending in Missouri during an Interfaith Call To Action: Fair Lending for Mid-Missouri Families event at the Catholic Pastoral Center on Thursday.

W.T. Edmonson, center, president of Jefferson City Congregations United, listens as Anne Schneider of First Presbyterian Church gives a presentation about predatory lending in Missouri during an Interfaith Call To Action: Fair Lending for Mid-Missouri Families event at the Catholic Pastoral Center on Thursday. Photo by Kris Wilson.

Amanda is a single mom with two kids, a job that pays a little over $14,000 a year take-home pay, a new $10,000 car loan — and four payday loans out, totaling about $2,400.

Marilyn DeFeo, volunteer director of the Samaritan Center, reported Thursday night: “I have talked with these (payday loan) gentlemen, trying to get them to negotiate down a loan, (but) there is just no ‘give’ to these folks.”

For people of faith, said Molly Fleming-Pierre, Policy and Development Organizer for the Kansas City-based Communities Creating Opportunity, “we know that the Bible is clear about this — that God views usury as against our traditions. And that’s not just in the Judeo-Christian tradition that I think most folks in this room represent — it’s in every tradition that I’ve searched under."

The Jefferson City Congregations Uniting members are seeking to become more active in fighting Mid-Missouri social problems, they said, and many stayed after Thursday night’s meeting to learn how to circulate the initiative petitions.

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