Mayor invites community to payday loan discussion


Photo used under a Creative Commons license courtesy Jason Comely at

The group CCO says its research shows there are more payday loan businesses in Missouri than Walmarts, McDonald’s and Starbucks combined.

Now community leaders and elected officials including Mayor Sly James are inviting residents to the launch of what is described as a grassroots campaign for predatory lending reform.

A kickoff for the campaign, hosted by the local group CCO, is planned for June 11 at 10 a.m. at the Gem Theater, 1615 E. 18th Street.

National, state and local elected leaders; congregation ministers; social service organizations serving the working poor and youth; and community leaders in neighborhoods where many payday lending establishments are located have also been invited.

“Kansas Citians of all ages need to understand the importance of using money wisely to prepare for a financially stable future,” Mayor James said in a press release. ‘Triple-digit interest rates on small-dollar loans imposed on working families is not the kind of financial service we want in Kansas City.”

Here’s more from the mayor’s office:

The Rev. Mike Roach of St. James Catholic Church in Kansas City, a clergy leader with Communities Creating Opportunity in Kansas City, said: “Our faith traditions are very clear: Industries built on exploiting the working poor are immoral and must change. The abuses and excesses of the payday lenders are well-documented and continue to shock the conscience of Americans everywhere. God’s people must demand better.”

The event will include a screening of “Spent: Looking for Change,” an American Express documentary about the effect of payday loans on individuals and families.

Speakers also will discuss the payday lending profile of Kansas City, including remarks by a Kansas Citian who has been a payday borrower; and an overview by a local attorney of Missouri payday lending laws that have enabled the industry to take root and thrive in this state.

The event will conclude with a discussion of how to influence new payday lending rules being proposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. CFPB is a federal agency that makes and enforces consumer-finance rules with the objective of empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives. A public comment period on the federal rules is expected to commence in August.

CCO estimates that payday lending drains about $26 million annually from the local Kansas City economy. While a credit-card lender can legally charge an annual percentage rate of 36 percent, the average payday loan in Missouri has an APR of 455 percent, CCO said.

This event is sponsored by DollarWise – Mayors for Financial Literacy, a financial education initiative of The United States Conference of Mayors and its Council on Metro Economies and the New American City, of which Mayor James is a member.

Leave a Comment