Faith, community leaders taking payday loan campaign to Washington

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Faith and community leaders with Together Louisiana are calling for the federal government to get involved in predatory payday loan practices.

Stacy Sauce was right in the middle of the fight during the last legislative session to reform payday loan laws. Payday loans are generally high interest short term loans for people with questionable credit. Sauce testified to the legislature about how her family was harmed by payday loan companies, but the legislature decided against changing any pay day loan rules, so now Stacy's taking her plight to Washington.

"For citizens like me to have faith in our democratic process, we cannot tolerate this kind of corrupting influence of lobbyists and money. And when it happens, when state legislators refuse to act on an issue of such magnitude and urgency, then we need our federal government to step up," Sauce said.

Dianne Hanley, an activist with Together Louisiana, says the pains of payday loan practices in Louisiana can cut deeply.

"In Louisiana, the average payday borrower takes out between 11 and 13 payday loans per year and pays between $815 and $905 per year to pay back a $300 dollar loan," Hanley said.

She says she wants the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), who regulates payday loans nationally, to pull in the reins on a runaway industry.

"To address the debt trap, we propose that CFPB prohibit payday lenders from lending to anyone who has been in debt with payday loans for more than 90 days during the previous 12 months," Hanley said.

Hanley and a group of other anti-payday loan activists are meeting Richard Cordray, the director of the CFPB, the federal agency created by Congress in 2010 with regulatory authority over payday lending.

Copyright 2014 WAFB. All rights reserved.