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Kentucky faith leaders push bill to prevent unfair payday loan practices

The Kentucky Baptist Fellowship, one of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s 18 state/regional organizations, has joined a diverse coalition of faith and nonprofit organizations in backing a bill in the Kentucky legislature to prevent unfair payday loan practices. Read the press release below from the Kentucky Coalition for Responsible Lending.

For more information on CBF’s advocacy efforts to confront predatory lending, be sure to read this recent news article titled: “Cooperative Baptists urge Congress to support payday loan reform.” 

Frankfort, KY – Today, a broad, interdenominational coalition of the Kentucky faith community joined by dozens of consumer groups across the state calling on the Kentucky legislature to pass Senate Bill 32, introduced by Senator Alice Forgy Kerr to cap payday loan interest rates at 36%. The current average interest rate on payday loans in Kentucky is over 300%. The 36% rate cap bill would build on 2010 reforms that created a database documenting the debt trap of payday lending, but does nothing to protect families from falling into the trap. Since 2010, more families have been trapped by usurious predatory payday lending than ever, draining over $121 million a year out of Kentucky’s economy.

Much of the $121 million a year in fees collected in Kentucky by payday lenders flows out of the state. The largest Kentucky payday lender, Cash Express, is headquartered in Tennessee. Advance America, the second largest, isn’t even a U.S company-it’s owned by a Mexican bank. The drain hurts entire communities, sapping people of funds they could use to invest in their futures, and draining disposal income from local stores and small businesses.

“People of faith should be deeply troubled that the 2010 law allows the plague of modern-day usury to continue unchecked. We hope lawmakers agree that the Bible’s prohibition against usury is very clear and that preying on our state’s most vulnerable citizens is clearly wrong,” Rev. Richard Gaines, Pastor of Consolidated Baptist Church in Lexington said.

“Payday lenders market their products as a one-time quick fix, but they are a debt trap by design, and the legislature should act to protect Kentucky’s families and Kentucky’s economy,” added Marian Taylor, a Presbyterian who serves as the executive director of the Kentucky Council of Churches.

Most payday loan borrowers end up trapped in debt because they cannot pay off high-interest loans and cover their normal living expenses. The borrower is forced to take out loan after loan after loan, incurring new fees each time. The problem has only gotten worse since the reform measure passed in 2010.   In 2013, predatory payday lenders took in $121 million in fees, an increase of 15% since 2010. Payday Lenders are also charging more-the average fee paid by a payday loan borrower has risen $44, from $529 to $573. Over 93% of payday loans were generated by borrowers taking out five or more loans a year-for a product marketed as a one-time quick fix.  Only 1% of loans in 2013 went to borrowers who did not borrow again during the year. The average payday loan borrower in Kentucky is stuck in 10 loans per year.

“Most insulting of all, we have seen payday lenders try to get churches to promote their products,” Dr. Hershael York, Pastor of Buck Run Baptist Church in Frankfort said. “Last year, payday lenders showed up to Vacation Bible Schools with promotional goody bags plastered with their company logos inviting churches to promote usury to children and their parents. We want payday lenders to know that we will not be promoting usury. We will be fighting to end it.”

A complete list of the organizations supporting the bill to cap payday loan interest rates at 36% is included below. More about the Kentucky Coalition for Responsible Lending is available,

We support 36 % APR on Payday Loans!

Faith Communities

  • African Methodist Episcopal Church Kentucky Conference
  • African Methodist Episcopal Church West Kentucky Conference
  • African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church Mid-West Episcopal District
  • BUILD (Building a United Interfaith Lexington through Direct Action)
  • Catholic Charities of Louisville
  • Catholic Conference of Kentucky
  • CLOUT (Citizens of Louisville Organized United Together)
  • Consolidated District of the General Association of Baptists in Kentucky
  • Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
  • Christian Methodist Episcopal Church 2nd Episcopal District
  • Cumberland Presbyterian Church
  • Episcopal Church Diocese of Kentucky
  • Episcopal Church Diocese of Lexington
  • Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Indiana-Kentucky Synod
  • Franklin Baptist Association
  • Jewish Community Relations Council (Louisville)
  • Kentucky Baptist Convention
  • Kentucky Baptist Fellowship
  • Kentucky Council of Churches
  • Presbyterian Church U.S.A. Mid-Kentucky Presbytery
  • Presbyterian Church U.S.A. Transylvania Presbytery
  • Presbyterian Church U.S.A. Western Kentucky Presbytery
  • Roman Catholic Church Archdiocese of Louisville
  • Roman Catholic Church Diocese of Covington
  • Roman Catholic Church Diocese of Lexington
  • Roman Catholic Church Diocese of Owensboro
  • St. Vincent De Paul
  • United Church of Christ Indiana/Kentucky Conference
  • United Church of Christ Ohio Conference
  • United Methodist Church Kentucky Annual Conference
  • United Methodist Church Memphis Conference
  • United Methodist Church Red Bird Missionary Conference
  • Union Church in Berea


  • AARP Kentucky
  • Barren River Area Safe Space
  • Barren River Asset Building Coalition
  • Bell-Whitley CAA
  • Bethany House Abuse Shelter
  • Brighton Center
  • Center for Economic Development, Entrepreneurship and Technology
  • Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington
  • Center for Women and Families
  • Central Kentucky Housing and Homeless Initiative
  • Central Kentucky Coalition for Peace and Justice
  • Coalition for the Homeless
  • Community Action Kentucky
  • Community Ventures Corporation
  • Eastern Kentucky Asset Building Coalition
  • Family Foundation
  • Family Life Abuse Center
  • Federal Home Loan Banking Cincinnati
  • Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises
  • Frontier Housing
  • Gateway Homeless Coalition, Inc.
  • Green River Asset Building Coalition
  • Habitat for Humanity, Morehead
  • Hager Educational Foundation
  • Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky
  • Kentucky AFL-CIO
  • Kentucky Association of Counties
  • Kentucky Asset Success Initiative
  • Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence
  • Kentucky Equal Justice Center
  • Kentucky Habitat for Humanity
  • Kentucky Poverty Law Center
  • Kentucky Resources Council
  • Kentucky Youth Advocates
  • Lawrence & Augusta Hager Foundation
  • Lexington Fair Housing Council
  • Low Income Housing Coalition of East Kentucky (LINKS)
  • LKLP Safe House
  • Louisville Asset Building Coalition
  • Louisville Urban League
  • Merryman House
  • Metropolitan Housing Coalition
  • Metro United Way
  • NAACP – Louisville/Jefferson County Branch
  • N. KY Community Action Commission
  • People’s Self Help Housing, Inc.
  • Safe Harbor
  • Sanctuary
  • Sandy Valley Abuse Center
  • Shelter of Hope
  • SpringHaven
  • Urban League of Lexington-Fayette County
  • Welcome House

3 thoughts on “Kentucky faith leaders push bill to prevent unfair payday loan practices

  1. Pingback: Cooperative Baptists in Kentucky champion cap on payday loan interest rates | CBFblog

  2. Pingback: CBF Advocacy efforts around payday lending continue and grow | CBFblog

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