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Against usury

With the House of Representatives voting on a financial reform bill including a consumer protection agency (with Rep. Melissa Bean working to weaken its impact), George Goehle of National Peoples Action writes at Huffington Post about the Central Illinois Organizing Project shutting down the Bloomington office of payday lender Advance America.

CIOP wants the lender to limit its interest rates – which can go as high as 400 percent – to 10 percent.

That’s also the goal of the “ten percent campaign” launched last summer by United Power for Action and Justice and discussed by financial muckraker William Greider at the Nation yesterday.

“Ten percent” refers to the tithing requirement of many churches – the slogan is, “If it’s good enough for God…”  It also approximates the ceiling on interest rates which was in effect under longstanding usury laws that were repealed in 1980.

“Usury” can be defined as using economic advantage to dictate loan terms that are guaranteed to drive people to ruin.

[New Deal 2.0 reports that Goehl, along with Heather Booth of Americans for Financial Reform, will be on Bill Moyers’ Journal tonight.  It’s on WTTW at 12:30 a.m. – apparently pushed back by a two-hour broadcast of “Stay Rich Forever and Ever!”]

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Category: banks & credit, consumers, economy

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