The issue of faith comes into state politics in issues such as abortion and health care. But faith leaders came to the Statehouse today to speak out on another issue that hasn’t seen much action in nearly a decade – payday lending.
“Lord, we cannot imagine a Heaven where Your will includes poverty profiteering.” That was the prayer that Troy Jackson of Cincinnati’s anti-poverty program the Amos Project recited to start the event calling for movement on a bill on payday lenders. The last payday lender crackdown passed in 2008. This bill has bipartisan sponsorship, and would cap interest rates at 28%, and monthly payments at 5% of the borrower’s monthly income. Ohio’s payday lenders charge the highest rates in the nation, and polls show Ohioans want more regulations on them. But payday lenders say they provide a needed service and that their satisfied customers are aware of the costs. The bill’s Republican sponsor says he hopes to bring all interested parties together for a meeting about the bill next week.
The faith leaders say Ohio’s payday lenders, who charge the highest rates in the nation, are preying on the poorest and most vulnerable. Polls show Ohioans want more rules on payday lenders, but the last crackdown on them was passed in 2008. The bill from Rep. Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield) would cap interest rates at 28%, and monthly payments at 5% of the borrower’s monthly income. And Koehler says it’ll stop lenders from finding ways around the new rules. “Basically, we’re saying if you are offering a loan of less than $5,000, you can’t use that loophole anymore.”
Koehler’s bill would also prohibit car title loans, but he says he’s open to negotiations on that. Payday lenders say they provide a needed service and that their satisfied customers are aware of the costs.