Bravo to the Rev. Susan McCann and others in Kansas City fighting a difficult battle to cap interest rates on onerous payday loans.
As part of Missourians for Responsible Lending, the group gathered the 90,000 signatures required to put a measure on the November ballot to cap those rates at 36 percent. Sadly, the Missouri Secretary of State ruled that too many of those signatures were invalid, so the measure won't appear on the ballot. While supporters of the measure believe they collected enough signatures, they've decided to drop a lawsuit challenging the Secretary of State's ruling. However, McCann says she and others will continue the fight to curb predatory lending in their community.
"I'm a person of faith, I believe it's a gospel imperative, I think it's a mandate," McCann said. From KCTV5 in Kansas City:
People outraged at the decision to drop the measure from the ballot gathered in Kansas City Wednesday.
The people who gathered outside Speedy Cash Payday Loans are just a few of the volunteers who collected all the signatures and they're saying the payday loan industry's legal maneuvering kept the issue of rate capping off the November ballot.
"It wasn't the will of the people we know if it had gone to a vote we would have won," Rev. Susan McCann with the Grace Episcopal Church said.
McCann said 60 percent of Missourians believe payday lenders should have limits on what they can charge.
"We have no desire to shut down the payday loan industry, all we desire is a fair equitable interest rate," she said.
KCTV5's Justin Schmidt spoke with a payday loan customer. She didn't want her name used, but said she would have liked to see rate caps.
"They're high, interest rates are very high. A lot of us are there because we need the money. Kind of low till next payday," the customer said.
The groups pushing for those regulations wanted to stop the cycle many payday loan customers fall into, of using a loan to pay off the last one. McCann said it's part of her job as a church leader to fight this fight.
"I'm a person of faith, I believe it's a gospel imperative, I think it's a mandate," she said.
McCann said more than 100 churches across the metro worked to take rate caps to a vote in Missouri. She said the current setback won't be the end of the fight.
"We will absolutely not give up until we have achieved economic dignity for all people of Missouri," she said.
Organizers put a lot of thought into where to hold the rally. They decided on Main Street between 39th and 40th, just a few hundred feet from St. Paul's Episcopal Church and just a few hundred feet from three payday loan shops.
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