Elsewhere online
January 13, 2015

Faith Groups Offer an Alternative to High-Priced Loans

In Virginia, where the payday-loan industry is lightly regulated, churches are stepping in to offer congregants facing short-term financial needs an alternative to high-interest commercial lenders, The Washington Post writes. The initiatives mirror a national trend, with Wisconsin, Texas, Missouri, and Louisiana also seeing organized, faith-based efforts to add very-low-interest lending to churches' charity work.

Proponents say such programs help struggling parishioners get back on their feet, whereas commercial loans that can carry three-digit annualized interest rates can leave borrowers mired in debt far exceeding the original loan. The need is acute in Virginia, which the Post says "has become something of a destination for mid-Atlantic residents in search of fast cash" as other states and the District of Columbia have tightened oversight of payday lenders.