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Extended Family Reuniting Together For Prayer

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A diverse group of religious leaders hosted a virtual ‘pray-in’ on Tuesday, 2/22/22, at 2PM to continue their protest of predatory lenders.  The group used the Scripture, Proverbs 22:22, ‘do not rob the poor because they are poor’ as the foundation of their platform.  The leaders are members of the Faith and Credit Roundtable, which is a part of the Center for Responsible Lending.  Rev. Willie Gable, Jr., Progressive Baptist Church in New Orleans, said that “predatory lending is legalized loan sharking”. According to the Consumer Federation of America, laws in thirty-two states protect payday lending practices.  Consumer Federation of America also identified interest rates in some states that exceed 400% for some loans.  Rev. Dallas Lenear, Journey Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, said “families turn to payday lending during financial emergencies just to find that payday lending is financial quicksand.”  The United Church of Christ said that they identified $104 million in consumer medical debts and that families turn to payday lenders because of pressure to pay those loans.  Minister Sekinah Hamlin, leader of Economic Justice for United Church of Christ, pointed out that many families continue to struggle as a result of the pandemic.  “The least we can do is to protect them from abusive and deceptive practices such as pay-day lending,” Hamlin said.  The National Law Center considers the 36% interest rate limit as the difference between responsible lending and destructive credit.  The Federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issues the guidelines for lenders to determine a borrowers’ ability to repay a loan.  Advocates say the Bureau was closed under President Trump’s Administration. Last year, the Military Lending Act, which created a 36% interest rate cap, was introduced in Congress.  The failure to pass the bill has led to criticism of the Biden administration.  Rev. Stephen Reeves, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, said “there is concern that this issue is not a high enough priority for the Bureau.”  The goal of the event was to focus on the power of prayer and scripture as a method to end payday lending.  Rabbi David Rosenn, the Hebrew Free Loan Society in New York, said that “anything created by human beings, including payday lending, can be overcome by faith and advocacy.”