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Baptist leaders call for comments on proposed payday loan rule

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By Carrie McGuffin and Aaron Weaver

ATLANTA — This is a “momentous time” for reforming payday and auto-title lending in the United States, a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship leader told attendees September 15 at the 2016 New Baptist Covenant Summit in downtown Atlanta.

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Rev. Willie Gable (left) and Stephen Reeves (right) urging all people of faith to comment in support of a strong rule to reform payday and auto-title lending. To comment, visit, lendjustly.com

Reeves, who serves as CBF associate coordinator for partnerships and advocacy, joined Willie Gable of The Progressive Baptist Church in New Orleans and National Baptist leader, during a conversation titled “Bringing Good News to the Poor: A Call to Action against Predatory Lending” and offered an overview of the payday lending industry, its usurious practices and the new proposed national rule to reform payday lending through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an independent federal agency.

“This is the first time that a national bureau has been able to address this issue, and we are currently in the public comment period of that rule,” Reeves said. “We are asking that all people of faith make a comment. This is a critical time to make our voices heard.”

Reeves and Gable emphasized that payday lending is a morality problem, citing examples of the exorbitant interest rates and fees that payday and car title lenders charge and the model that predatory lenders wish customers to fail to pay off due to a flipped profit model.

“[To support this reform] is a command that Jesus would have us follow,” said Gable, drawing a connection to Jesus’ march into Jerusalem to condemn money lenders.

The proposed federal rule through the Consumer Financial Bureau has the ultimate goal of requiring lenders to assess a borrowers’ ability to repay a payday or auto-title loan as well as determining whether a borrower is able to meet his or her other financial obligations and living expenses.

Reeves and Gable encouraged Baptists and all people of faith to visit the website of the Faith for Just Lending coalition and learn more about the proposed rule and comment before the October 7 deadline.

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CBF is a Christian Network that helps people put their faith to practice through ministry eff­orts, global missions and a broad community of support. The Fellowship’s mission is to serve Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission.

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