A coalition of military/veterans groups, faith leaders, community and social service groups oppose expansion of payday and subprime lending in SB 613. Kelly Wilkinson, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Indiana Senate just passed SB613, which greatly expands the payday lending industry.
For the past three years, an association of out-of-state lenders has been pushing for legislation, and investing heavily in lobbying efforts to grow the payday lending industry. While they have been unsuccessful in the past, this year they are poised to pass this legislation. SB613 will allow more payday products at higher amounts targeted at low-income communities.
Habitat stands with over 60 churches, nonprofits and veterans groups that are vying to protect Hoosiers from more of these usurious products. Despite our group’s testimony at hearings, the Senate sided with out-of-state lenders.
We must oppose this legislation.
Here in Muncie we have so many families working hard to create paths to self-sufficiency and increase assets. We have a robust network of nonprofits working, often together, alongside these families. We all must stand up to those who prey on these very same families with the promise of fast cash and pain of exponentially increasing repayment plans.
Habitat for Humanity has built homes for nearly 25,000 Hoosiers, providing them a pathway out of poverty through the wealth-building of homeownership. We help low-income families who cannot qualify for conventional loans, and we build and finance homes for them at 0 percent interest. Habitat for Humanity works hard to end the cycle of poverty while the payday lending industry makes a profit by trapping families in a cycle of debt.
Habitat is deeply concerned about this, as it affects our applicants, homeowners and the values upon which we were founded. Habitat for Humanity doesn’t charge interest because in Exodus 22:25 “If you lend money to my people, the poor among you, you shall not deal with them as a creditor; you shall not exact interest from them.” While we don’t expect other lenders to abide by this, we take seriously what the Bible says about usury.
Proverbs 28:8 also advises us not to practice usury for unjust gain. A lender should not take advantage of the uninformed, the disadvantaged, or the coerced, charging excessive rates of interest. This is unfair lending; it is predatory lending, and that is how we define the payday lending industry. We feel they take advantage of the most vulnerable Hoosiers. We fear that if we don’t stop this bill, it will lead more people to financial ruin and threaten their housing security.
Families facing poverty need your help to protect them against predatory lenders. Please stand with Habitat and other faith leaders. Call your local State House Representative at 1-800-382-9842 and ask them to vote NO on SB613 and let’s stop predatory lending from growing further in our state!
Jena Ashby is the director of impact and programs for Muncie Habitat for Humanity.
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