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Local Faith-Based Group Calls for "Predatory Lending" Reform

Faith Voices of Southwest Missouri organized the event to draw attention to people who have taken out pay day or title loans and who can’t get out of the cycle of debt.  They want the Missouri legislature to cap the interest rate on those types of loans at 36 percent.  According to Mark Struckhoff, executive director of Council of Churches of the Ozarks, the average rate in Missouri is 451 percent.

Jennifer Trogdon spoke at the rally—she knows firsthand how difficult it can be to get out from under a high interest loan. 

"People think that you're a bad person for taking out these loans, and you're not.  We're regular, everyday people," she said.

She and her husband took out a car title loan with an interest rate of 449 percent to pay for car repairs.  A $474 loan ended up costing them $3000, and they had to take out a pay day loan to keep up with payments.  They’re almost debt free now thanks to help from University Heights Baptist Church.

Struckhoff said they’re not trying to run anyone out of business.  He believes it’s possible to practice responsible lending.

"And still be able to make a decent profit as a business in Missouri with a capped rate," he said.

The group plans to deliver what they’re calling a “commitment letter” to local representatives that calls for supporting legislation capping interest rates this session and for refusing any campaign contributions from car title and pay day loan businesses.