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HPPR Economy and Enterprise

Christian Groups Unite to Fight Predatory Lending

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Andrew Spear
/
New York Times

  The New York Times this week reported on groups of Christians in the heartland who have a new mission in mind: fighting predatory lending. Their main target is what’s called a “payday” loan: a high-interest loan often taken in a moment of financial crisis. The movement has united conservative and Evangelical churches with liberal ones.

Along with fighting payday loans, the groups are targeting loans against the borrowers’ vehicle titles and other “high-cost installment loans.”

Molly Fleming, a Roman Catholic from Kansas City, noted that the bible condemns usury, or lending money for profit. To battle the problem, many evangelical churches have established funds to help poor congregants who might be tempted by short-term, high-interest loans. Some call these programs “grace-based” lending. The idea is to keep members of the congregation from falling into debt or being preyed upon.