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VA Faithful Call on Legislature to Curb Payday Lending Rates

January 15, 2008

Richmond, VA - Out of the pews and into the halls of power. Voters from churches across the state are converging on Richmond today for the annual "Day for All People" event, sponsored by the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy. This year's goals include persuading the General Assembly to cap payday lending interest rates at 36 percent, extend access to health care and consider restoring voting rights to former felons.

Interfaith Center director Doug Smith says predatory lending is an issue this year because more and more faith groups are forced to deal with it.

"Payday lending is a faith issue on many, many levels, not the least of which is that we see people coming to our churches and mosques and synagogues needing financial assistance to get out of the debt trap."

Smith says the event provides ordinary citizens with the same access to lawmakers that lobbyists and interest groups enjoy, and gives them a chance to speak their piece about key issues like the payday lending cap.

"What's unique about our day is that it's not about trade associations or bankers. It's really people out of the pews and people off the streets who are going to ask for that 36 percent cap."

Smith says Gov. Kaine will attend today's events at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, across from the Statehouse. Up to 400 participants are expected. They'll learn about the lawmaking process as well as discuss issues with their legislators.

Additional information about the event is available at www.dayforallpeople.org.

John Robinson/Eric Mack, Public News Service - VA