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Loyola-led group to fight predatory payday lending

Loyola press release - February 13, 2012

The Jesuit Social Research Institute at Loyola University New Orleans is taking on the issue of predatory payday lending by spearheading the formation of the advocacy organization, Louisiana United for Fair Lending. The group recently received a $25,000 grant, which will be used for organizing and printing costs throughout Louisiana, from the Foundation for Louisiana. JSRI Director the Rev. Fred Kammer, S.J., J.D., said the group is also partnering with the Center for Responsible Lending, a national group that addresses predatory lending practices, and is already making progress.

“The group has already had initial organizing meetings and there will be more meetings in 10 or more locations across the state in the coming year,” Kammer said. “What we want to do the first year is to continue to educate people about predatory payday lending practices. The JSRI is especially interested in this issue because of the race factor, as many of these predatory businesses are located in poor and minority neighborhoods.”

According to Kammer, predatory lending targets low-income individuals that do not have access to available cash. If they do need a loan, they can obtain one from a predatory lender, but it comes with an extremely high interest rate. If they can’t repay the loan in the agreed period of time, the account continues to compound interest, putting the individual deeper and deeper into debt.

The group has a four-year blueprint that not only includes educating the public about the dangers of predatory lending, but will also attempt to create change through the political process.

“One of our goals after four years, if not sooner, is to help craft legislation in Louisiana that will restrict predatory lending and protect borrowers,” Kammer said. “We have a lot of good groups that are a part of this organization, including the Justice and Peace Office at the Archdiocese of New Orleans and the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops. We are also working together to expand member organizations to include other statewide faith-based and civil activist organizations.”

For more information on predatory lending practices or Louisiana United for Fair Lending, contact Kammer at fkammer@loyno.edu or 504-864-7746.

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