Rally and Lobby Day to Focus on Predatory Lending Practices

February 6, 2018

Want to help ensure that all Alabamians have access to fair lending practices no matter their income level? Join us at the Rally & Lobby Day to Fight Predatory Lending on February 1 in Montgomery and let your voice be heard.

“We want to send a clear message to legislators that there is a diverse group of individuals and institutions that care deeply about this issue,” said Joan Witherspoon-Norris, director of social justice for YWCA Central Alabama. “It will be a show of force to make sure that they understand that this has to be a priority.”

The YWCA, the Alliance for Responsible Lending in Alabama (ARLA), Alabama Appleseed for Law and Justice, and the Alabama Anti-Predatory Lending Coalition are hosting the rally in hopes of getting legislators to pass the 30 Days to Pay Bill, which would require payday lenders to give borrowers 30 days to repay their loans instead of 14, which is currently allowed.

“Other bills are not due in 14 days, and this would put more borrowers in a position to repay their loans so they don’t get trapped in a cycle of debt,” Witherspoon-Norris said. “The change we are requesting in this bill is so reasonable and it won’t put payday lenders out of business, so people will still have access to these loans.”

In Alabama, there are more licensed payday lenders than McDonald’s and Starbucks combined, and most of them are located in low-income areas. Lenders in Alabama can legally charge interest rates as high as 456 percent APR, one of the highest interest rates for these loans in the nation.

“Typically, families don’t have the money to repay the loan in two weeks, so they take out another loan,” Witherspoon-Norris said. “It’s called churning, and it’s how the industry makes its money.”

Registration and arrival for the rally will begin in front of the Alabama State House, 11 South Union Street in Montgomery, at 10 a.m. The rally, which will feature a slate of speakers promoting reform efforts, will begin at 10:30 a.m. An advocacy training session will follow the rally at 11:30 a.m. and participants will have the opportunity to visit legislators’ offices to deliver letters of support and information about the need for reform.

"This event gives people an easy avenue to make their voices heard in government," Witherspoon-Norris said. "People with no experience can show up, learn a little about how the state legislature works and make a difference for the people of our state. The more people we have, the stronger our message." 

For more information, please contact Joan Witherspoon-Norris at joanwn@ywcabham.org or 205.322.9922, ext. 164.

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