The Board of Directors of SD Faith in Public Life studied the payday lending industry in 2015-16. The Board interviewed representatives of the banking industry, payday loan industry and credit unions. Consumer credit counselors, who work with families caught in a cycle of debt from payday loans, shared their experiences and views with us. We examined the scriptures and teachings of our Jewish, Christian and Muslim faith traditions, all of which share a common call to avoid exploitation of the poor.
We found agreement around this statement: Responsible lending is a moral issue. Loans with triple-digit interest fees and short-term repayment periods that routinely trap vulnerable borrowers in a cycle of debt are unacceptable. Religious leaders have a responsibility to bring these hurtful practices to light, and to work toward ending payday loan practices that exploit the poor.
See the full text of our statement: A Moral Response to Payday Lending.
In August, 2016 this statement was shared with the press and distributed to clergy throughout the state through denominational offices and ministerial groups.