So far in this spring legislative session, 'Nevadans for the Common Good' sent 4,000 postcards to the governor and state legislators in support of $40 million in affordable housing tax credits and a substantial increase in funding for Nevada public schools.
NCG leaders are furthermore engaged in an impassioned fight with the payday lending industry over passage of SB 201, which would establish a payday lending database that would track short-term, high-interest loans to better protect consumers. NCG initially sent a delegation of 10 leaders to the Capitol, which met with 17 legislators in one day. Since then, leaders have communicated their concerns through hundreds of emails and phone calls that included personal stories to legislators about the harmful effects of predatory lending.
Most recently, 50 leaders attended a midday hearing and delivered powerful testimony about the impact of high-interest loans on families. Rev. Sandy Johnson with United Methodist Church in Boulder City, spoke on behalf of NCG, sharing that her personal friend experienced great financial difficulties brought on by payday loans.
“If existing state laws were enforced," said Pastor Johnson, "consumers like her would be protected from being trapped in a debt cycle for more than two decades. The long term economic stability of families should not be undermined if they take out a short-term loan.”
Payday Lending Opponents, Industry Clash in Charged Hearing Over Loan Database, Nevada Independent
Leaders publicly called on Governor Mary Fallin to veto the bill, on television and in writing arguing, as did Fr. Tim Luschen, that the bill is "not anything that can make our community a better place."Read more
In response to stories like hers, religious leaders of VOICE-OKC, including Rev. Lori Walke of Mayflower Congregational Church and Rev. Tim Luschen of Charles Borromeo Catholic Church, are now calling for payday lending reforms. According to The Oklahoman, Oklahomans pay $52 million in fees charged by payday lenders, paying an average annual interest rate of 391 percent.Read more
"I am concerned as a pastor with both the usurious nature of these loans, and the everyday experience of those we serve in our charitable ministries. All four of the Gospel writers included references to the anger Jesus had for the money changers in the temple. It is this same righteous anger that motivates my brother bishops and I to cry out for justice for those exploited by this industry."Read more
In an effort to save fellow parishioners, neighbors and friends from falling into "the debt trap," Catholic Bishop Placido Rodriguez and WTOS leaders called for payday lending to be regulated in Lubbock and across the nation. Argued the Bishop of the Catholic Lubbock Diocese, "this practice is so predatory and ...creates so much hardship for families."
Catholic Church Battling Predatory Lending, Lubbock Avalanche JournalRead more