People of Faith Unite Against Usury

People of Faith Unite Against Usury
HB 329 is Backdoor Boost to Payday Lenders and Other High Cost Lenders

As people of faith representing hundreds of thousands of signers of the initiative petition to cap interest rates on predatory payday loans, we stand opposed to HB 329. From the Torah to the Christian Gospel to Catholic Social Teaching, the teachings of our religious traditions are clear: It is immoral to charge triple digit interest on consumer loans. Therefore, our hundreds of congregations stand united to urge you to uphold the governor’s veto and oppose HB 329.

HB 329 is touted as an alternative to payday lenders, but it in fact directly benefits the payday lenders. HB 329 allows higher charges on loans that already carry some of the highest charges in the country.

The loans that will be made more expensive by this bill all carry the following characteristics:
• Carry rates upwards of 300% APR
• Are made with little regard to a borrowers ability to repay the loan
• Create long-term debt traps – 75% of installment loans are the result of repeatedly refinancing existing customers

The nation’s largest payday loan companies, which are also the largest payday lenders in the state of Missouri, are classified as installment lenders and thus stand to benefit from this fee hike – QC Holdings, Cash America, Advance America, Cash NetUSA. These companies already advertise installment loans in Missouri at 300% APR. At these interest rates, a $1,500 loan would require a payback amount of over $3,000 in less than 6 months. (See Advance America: https://www.advanceamerica.net/apply-for-a-loan/fees/MO.)

Missouri already loses over $100 million dollars a year in fees paid on predatory loans, mostly to out of state predatory lenders. HB 329 will exacerbate this fee drain and put Missourians into deeper economic crisis.

Polling shows that over 70% of Missouri voters on both sides of the aisle support ending 300% APR loans. HB 329 ignores the voters’ will and buries Missourians in unaffordable, unsustainable debt.

Missouri Faith Voices includes hundreds of congregations and nearly 100,000 voters throughout the state working through grassroots leadership to build a better quality of life for families. Missouri Faith Voices is non-partisan, does not support candidates for office, and urges people of faith to consult their faith traditions for guidance on specific policies and legislation.

Paid for by Missouri Faith Voices, Rev. Jim Hill, President, 301 East Capitol Avenue, Jefferson City, MO 65101

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