(From Progress Missouri)
Community leaders and consumers from across Missouri met with Richard Cordray, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), regarding citizens’ clear demands for reforms to federal and state policies governing predatory lending. Payday loans are effectively unregulated in Missouri, and the CFPB has been empowered to help consumers across the country targeted by predatory lenders and other unscrupulous financial institutions.
Right now, the average APR on a Missouri payday loan is a whopping 445%, and payday lenders can legally charge up to 1,950% APR. Legislative leaders of both parties have looked the other way as they cashed campaign checks from the same payday lending companies. The CFPB does not have the power to set interest rates. But the Bureau can protect consumers from unfair, deceptive and abusive business practices.
Missouri leaders met with Director Cordray Wednesday, September 26 to demand strong consumer protections against predatory lenders. And, faith and community members testified during the first ever Consumer Advisory Board public meeting on Thursday at the Randall Gallery in downtown St Louis. The historic consumer meeting was standing room only.
Community, faith, student and labor leaders from across Missouri came together to form a diverse and robust collaborative to cap the rate on predatory loans in Missouri. Beginning in the summer of 2011, the volunteers and leaders collected more than 175,000 signatures to put a payday initiatives before voters. While the initiative petition campaign was ultimately unable to overcome an unprecedented legal challenge funded by out-of-state corporations desperate to preserve triple digit interest rates, the widespread, broad-based public demand to end the payday loan debt trap is undeniable.
The central mission of the CFPB is to make markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans. Congress established the CFPB to protect consumers by carrying out Federal consumer financial laws in 2010, and President Obama appointed Rich Cordray to be the first Director of the CFPB in January.