I support the campaign against usury because I have seen the effects of payday lending on my church members. One of our families had a dependent mother-in-law, six children and one income.
Our church has a policy with benevolence funds. The first time our church members need financial assistance we do not require much, just a few questions regarding their need. If the church members come back for more assistance, they sit down with another member of the church who assists them in developing a household budget.
The deacon the family met with came to me, because the math did not add up. The family could live within their means except for one debt dragging them down–a $700 payday loan. They had taken it out four months earlier to help with a rent payment. Since then, $200 had been deducted from the husband’s paycheck every two weeks. That $200 did nothing to reduce the loan’s principal. In four months, the family had paid $1800. Our church stepped in, but ultimately had to pay $1500 to pay off the loan.
$3300. In less than five months. For a $700 loan.
The thought that went through my head at the time was, “This cannot be legal.”
As Christians, we have to advocate for vulnerable families who are being taken advantage of by usurious, predatory lending practices. So I am trying try to help not just one of our church family, but the many others like them. After researching our state’s laws, I know that it is legal, but my thought is the same.
This cannot be legal.
-Dr. Chad Chaddick, Pastor of Northeast Baptist Church, San Antonio