"What else could I do, you know?" Last year Michelle, a single, working mother of three tried to explain to me how the issue of payday lending has transformed her life--and not in a good way.
A sudden serious medical issue with one of her children caused her financial situation to rapidly deteriorate. So much so that she began having to make choices between caring for her other children and attending to the needs of her sick child.
"I'm not going to look at my children and tell them they can't go to school or whatever because their brother was sick. It wasn't fair to him and I didn't want them blaming him for something that he couldn't control."
And so, she decided to get a loan. At the time she was aware of the oppressive interest rate, but she didn't know quite what she was getting into.
In 2014, you – the Annual Conference of North Alabama – approved a resolution for changes in the payday lending industry in Alabama.
Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett, Dr. Neal Berte (President Emeritus of Birmingham-Southern College) and other leaders in the conference have been calling and working for reform in this area.
There is something you can do right now – today – to help. The Alabama legislature will soon vote on a bill to reform the payday lending industry in a way that is fair to lenders and still allows the industry to operate. Calling your Alabama House or Senate representative and letting them know you want them to do something about this could be the difference for mothers like Michelle.
As United Methodists we believe how a society cares for the "least of these" matters a great deal to God and to us. The time has come to put our resolution into action.
For more resources on this, click here.
- Rev. Matt Lacey
North Alabama Conference Director of Missions and Advocacy