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KY Payday Lending Scrutinized During “America Saves Week”

February 23, 2009

Frankfort, KY – Save money and reduce debt: That's the message from Governor Steve Beshear for "America Saves Week" (February 22-March 1). However, Bishop Walter Jones, with Citizens of Louisville Organized and Uniting Together (CLOUT), says it's a call that's tough to answer for Kentuckians taking out repeat payday loans. He says Kentucky should look at capping the 400-percent APR payday loan interest rates at 36 percent, as other states have done; he sees it as an issue of fairness and faith.

"We find that it's not a part of the faith initiative to take advantage of those who can least afford a payday loan situation."

Bishop Jones says another option to help people in need of emergency cash is to set up regular loans through banks and credit unions, something his group and others are exploring.

"We're working with several of our local banks to come up with some creative ideas. There's certainly no reason these ideas can't be put into effect in our own area, here in Kentucky."

Bishop Jones' group is a member of the Kentucky Coalition for Responsible Lending, which supports state legislative action to cap loan interest rates. The coalition estimates that state residents lose 131 million dollars a year in payday loan fees and interest.

Payday lenders oppose caps, saying the high interest rates are needed to cover the high-risk loans they specialize in.

The Governor's proclamation statement for "America Saves Week" is at:
migration.kentucky.gov

Deb Courson, Public News Service - KY