After three and a half years working to cap "sky-high" fees that Nebraska payday lenders charge, Omaha Together One Community (OTOC) won a landslide victory (83% to 17%) for statewide Initiative 428, reducing maximum interest rates on payday loans from 387% to 36%.
Nebraskans Vote to Cap Interest Rates on Payday Loans, NPR Marketplace Morning Report
After the Ascension Parish Council secretly voted to approve $55 million in tax exemptions, Ascension Parish residents associated with Together Louisiana filed a lawsuit over the Council's secrecy as they conducted the vote. Their approval of industrial tax exemptions would cost Ascension tax-payers $55 million over the next eight years.Read more
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
"Catholic congregations and leaders ...were central in the push for payday lending reform in nearby Arlington. Father Daniel Kelley of St. Joseph Catholic Church was particularly influential. In addition, the Texas Catholic Conference, the public policy voice of Texas' Catholic bishops, worked directly on payday lending reform at the state and local level, and also participated in Dallas Area Interfaith and Faith Leaders for Fair Lending.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
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
As part of a two-pronged approach to restrict payday lenders, the North Texas IAF succeeded in persuading the Council to pass zoning restrictions which would separate payday and auto-title lenders from banks, credit unions and more traditional financial institutions, while also requiring them to seek a specific-use permit from the council. The purpose of this would be to prevent high concentrations of payday lenders in low-income (or any) neighborhoods and would apply to new businesses.Read more
After undergoing a congregational development process in partnership with the North Texas IAF that involved 3,000 parishioners â€“ 600 of which participated in small group encounters led by 80 ministry leaders -- leaders of St. Joseph's Catholic Parish in Arlington, Texas were astounded by the number of stories about payday lending.Read more
Undeterred by the Louisiana legislature's reluctance to pass payday lending reform this year, Together Louisiana leaders turned their attention to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, taking over a hearing on mobile banking and pointing out the need for intervention on payday lending.Read more