Payday Loans

To a majority of Christians, those who provide payday loans, with their three-digit interest rates, are sinners. That’s among the findings of a new poll conducted by LifeWay Research , a Nashville-based Christian group, that surveyed 1,000 self-identifying Christians in 30 states with no regulations on payday lending.

Brian E. Konkol 04-16-2014
Payday Loans vendor, photo by Steve Rhodes / Flickr.com.

Payday Loans vendor, photo by Steve Rhodes / Flickr.com.

The United States hosts more than 23,000 payday lending stores, which outnumbers the combined total of McDonald’s, Burger King, Sears, J.C. Penney, and Target stores. These payday lenders do not make conventional loans as seen in most banks, but instead offer short-term loan amounts for short periods of time, usually until the borrower’s next paycheck, hence the name “payday loans.”

While some borrowers benefit from this otherwise unavailable source of short-term and small-amount credit, the payday lending business model fosters harmful serial borrowing and the allowable interest rates drain assets from financially pressured people. For example, in Minnesota the average payday loan size is approximately $380, and the total cost of borrowing this amount for two weeks computes to an appalling 273 percent annual percentage rate (APR). The Minnesota Commerce Department reveals that the typical payday loan borrower takes an average of 10 loans per year, and is in debt for 20 weeks or more at triple-digit APRs. As a result, for a $380 loan, that translates to $397.90 in charges, plus the amount of the principal, which is nearly $800 in total charges.

Elaina Ramsey 12-06-2012

Religious groups are giving the payday lending industry a run for their money.

Tim Kumfer 07-06-2011

Smack dab in the middle of the Lord’s Prayer, obscured by old translations and otherworldly assumptions, is a radical cry for Jubilee justice

Jennifer Kottler 12-09-2009

I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore

Nate Van Duzer 10-24-2008

We are all witnessing the effects of a greed-driven and debt-ridden economic system. A timely case study of how to reform our economy at the grassroots level is on the ballot this election season in Ohio.

Tom Allio 08-05-2008

The people of Ohio won a big victory over the predatory payday lending industry this June when a new state law banned the sky-high interest rates that had trapped many poor Ohioans, as Tom Allio describes in the August issue of Sojourners. Below, Allio, who is chair of the coalition of faith-based consumer, labor, and human services groups that won the [...]

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