Go here by October 7 to tell the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau you want a strong rule to protect borrowers nationwide from predatory lending. For tips and suggestions on making an effective comment, click here. YOUR Voice is Needed TODAY!
The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship began coordinated advocacy and public witness efforts at the national level three years ago. Our primary goal has been to encourage and equip pastors and church members to engage in effective missions-based advocacy in their communities, whatever issues or concerns may arise. In doing so, we’re committed to staying faithful to CBF history and structure as well as our cornerstone Baptist commitment to local church autonomy.
In addition, we will highlight particular issues, educating and encouraging CBF supporters to get involved. The first such issue has been payday and auto title lending. This predatory practice is nothing more than economic exploitation of the vulnerable. It is a denial of the traditional biblical, moral and legal understanding of usury.
More than just small-dollar short-term loans that typically carry annual percentage rates (APR) of 400% or more, this is an entire industry built on products which by design function as debt-traps. For a high percentage of borrowers these loans, marketed as a responsible option and quick solution to an immediate need, are instead the beginning of a cycle of debt. Many borrowers end up paying endless fees and interest without reducing what they owe, or begin a series of loans after the high cost means they can’t pay the loan off and make it to their next payday without getting another. It is an industry built on the designed failure of its customers. The more a borrower fails, the more money the lender makes.
There are many reasons CBF began with payday lending reform and the response among pastors and church members has been remarkable and impactful. Years before CBF Advocacy efforts began, CBF pastors and supporters had been vocal advocates for just lending practices in state legislatures including in Missouri, Alabama, Louisiana, Kentucky and Texas among others. Now, with the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau those efforts are focused on the national level.
Since 2013 CBF has become a national leader in reform efforts. CBF has had representatives serve as expert panelists for a CFPB field hearing, helped to launch the broad national faith-based coalition Faith for Just Lending, led a delegation to meet with senior White House staff and were featured in a documentary film, “The Ordinance” telling the story of the response of the church to this issue. All the while our CBF field personnel have continued ministering to the financially vulnerable and churches have been developing creative, immediate assistance for borrowers.
The CFPB announced on June 2 a proposed rule to regulate payday, auto title and small dollar installment lending. Friday — October 7 — is the end of the critical public comment period and we need you to speak out now! Make a comment.
Tell the CFPB how these products have impacted your friends, family, church members or community. Tell them why usury is wrong and the vulnerable should be protected. Importantly, tell them the rule needs to be strengthened to prevent lenders from evading the rule and continuing business as usual. While the focus on forcing lenders to assess a borrower’s ability to repay is key, the ability of lenders to avoid the assessment for a total of six loans a year is unacceptable. For a summary of the rule and tips on making a comment, click here.
Cooperative Baptists have stepped up, spoken out and made a difference. The time is now to push for a strong national rule and take a stand for justice in small-dollar lending.