Clergy and faith leaders have long been powerful voices against abusive lending, and Faith & Credit, CRL's Faith-Based Program, works to amplify these voices through research and policy, campaign support, and religious reflection.
For people of faith, responsible lending is a moral concern. Religious texts warn against usury – the practice of charging excessive or unjust interest – particularly if paying that interest would deprive a person of basic necessities, livelihood or home. Faith leaders are often on the front lines in the fight against abusive lending, working with families who are grappling with foreclosure and debt and calling for economic empowerment through responsible banking.
Responsible Lending is a Moral Concern
Historically, access to credit has almost always been a good thing for American families. Financial services – from savings banks to credit cards to home loans - have enabled millions of households to respond to emergencies, save money and build family wealth over time. Learn more about the intersection of religion and responsible lending.
Religious Resources on Debt and Lending
- 400% Interest Is Too Much? Download a congregational discussion guide on Modern Day Usury: the Payday Debt Trap.
- The Union for Reform Judaism adopted a new resolution on predatory lending at its November 2015 biennial meeting.
- Southern Baptists’ Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission publishes a issue brief outlining why Christians should be involved in payday reform.
- Dr. Barrett Duke of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention wrote his March 2013 commentary on the payday lending debt trap.
- Religious investors with the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility "rank the banks" noting dangers of faulty mortgage servicing, payday lending.
- On behalf of the Texas Catholic Conference and the Roman Catholic Bishops of Texas, Bishop Joe Vasquez recently testified in support of a current legislative effort to reform payday lending in the Lone Star State.
- A Reformed Understanding of Usury for the 21st Century provides history and analysis of lending from a Reformed Christian understanding.
Recent Faith Statements
- Over 300 Faith Groups and Leaders Call on White House to Ease Student Loan Burden with Widespread Debt Cancellation (PDF)
- Faith Leaders Call for Repeal of OCC Rule Blessing “Rent-a-Bank” Schemes (PDF)
- Faith Leaders Urge President Biden to Cancel a Substantial Amount of Student Debt (PDF)
- Proposed Rent-A-Bank Scheme Tramples Consumer Protections (PDF)
- CFPB Betrays Consumers With Reversal on Predatory Lending Protections (PDF)
- Protect the Financially Vulnerable in This COVID-19 Crisis by Ensuring They Are Not Condemned to a Cycle of Debt (PDF)
- Faith Leaders on HUD's Implementation of the Fair Housing Act’s Disparate Impact Standard (PDF)
- Do Not Allow Debt Collectors To Exploit “the Least Ones” Among Us (PDF) - Faith and Credit Roundtable Release on the CFPB's Proposed Debt Collection Rule
- Preserve Landmark Payday Lending Reform on CFPB Plan to Gut Payday Lending Rule (PDF) - Faith and Credit Roundtable Press Statement
- Comment from the Faith & Credit Roundtable (PDF)
- Comment from Jewish organizations opposing the proposal to rescind the ability-to-repay standards (PDF)
- Comment from the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) (PDF)