Closing the Loophole for Minnesota's Largest Payday Lenders

July 12, 2013
Public News Service  
payday lending news

A group of faith leaders in Minnesota, together comprising the Joint Religious Legislative Coalition, will pursue legislation to close a loophole that lets payday lenders charge high interest rates in the state. Rev. Alison Killeen, director of organizing and practical theology for the coalition, says consumers who use such lenders are often vulnerable. "What will happen is people will get stuck into a spiral of debt, being unable to pay off larger and larger amounts,” Killeen explains. “And we've heard stories of folks taking out loans at one payday lender to be able to pay of the next, and they get stuck in this chain of increasing debt." State payday law currently caps the annual percentage rate (APR) at about 350 percent; but some lenders are large enough to operate as an industrial loan and thrift, allowing them to charge rates that amount to an APR of 1,000 percent. Rev. Jay Carlson at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, which has five payday lenders within a half-mile radius, says there is a need for these types of loans and that his church is considering a type of community loan fund as an alternative to predatory lenders.
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