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Faith Leaders Pray To End "Poverty Profiteering" By Payday Lenders

payday_lending_bill.jpg
Karen Kasler
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Troy Jackson from The Amos Project leads the group in prayer at the Ohio Statehouse on Wednesday.

The issue of faith comes into state politics in issues such as abortion and health care. But faith leaders came to the Statehouse on Wednesday to speak out on another issue that hasn’t seen much action in nearly a decade: Payday lending.

“Lord, we cannot imagine a Heaven where Your will includes poverty profiteering,” said Troy Jackson of Cincinnati’s anti-poverty program The Amos Project.

Jackson recited the prayer to start the event calling for movement on a bill on payday lenders.

The last payday lender crackdown passed in 2008.

The latest bill has bipartisan sponsorship, and would cap interest rates at 28 percent, and monthly payments at 5 percent of the borrower’s monthly income. 

“Basically, we’re saying if you are offering a loan of less than $5,000, you can’t use that loophole anymore,” says the bill’s Republican sponsor, Rep. Kyle Koehler of Springfield.

Koehler’s bill would also prohibit car title loans, but he says he’s open to negotiations on that.

Ohio’s payday lenders charge the highest rates in the nation, and polls show Ohioans want more regulations on them.

Payday lenders say they provide a needed service and that their satisfied customers are aware of the costs.

Koehler says he hopes to bring all interested parties together for a meeting about the bill next week.