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COLUMBUS, Ohio (BP) вЂ” OhioвЂ™s new law regulating payday lending is an important advance, but the church plays a vital role in helping people who often become casualties of the predatory industry, Southern Baptist pastor David Gray says.
Gov. John Kasich signed into law July 30 what some advocates have described as a model for the country in addressing abuses by lenders who often draw poor people into a debt trap by charging exorbitant, and often misleading, interest rates.
In the industry, a lender may portray an interest rate as 15 percent, but it actually is only for a two-week period until a personвЂ™s next payday. The annual interest rate in payday lending typically is about 400 percent, making it extremely difficult for a borrower to repay the loan.
The new Ohio measure says a loan of no more than $1,000 can be made for 30 days to two months, but a loan for less than 90 days cannot surpass a monthly payment of more than seven percent of a borrowerвЂ™s net income per month, according to The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch. The interest rate is capped at 28 percent, while a monthly maintenance fee cannot be more than 10 percent or $30, whichever is less, The Dispatch reported.
Gray вЂ” pastor of First Baptist Church of Garrettsville and a former president of the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio вЂ” described the law as вЂњa good first step. It really is because people were being taken advantage of in amazing and sad ways.вЂќ
The Fairness in Lending Act is вЂњthe beginning of an answer,вЂќ but the real вЂњanswer is with the church speaking to its people and teaching them how to not fall into the trap that payday lenders give,вЂќ Gray told Baptist Press in a phone interview. вЂњYou know, easy money is never easy. And thatвЂ™s really the great challenge that we have вЂ” that a person thinks theyвЂ™re solving a problem and they go about it in a short-term way.…