Published: January 12, 2014 12:00AM
Falls News Press
The poor and working poor have become big business for the likes of out-of-community predatory lending corporations.
They export income, hurting both customers and the community. Their exorbitant interest rates exceed anything remotely resembling fair or just. Both governments and faith traditions throughout history have a word for excessive unjust interest: usury. Predatory lending corporations prey on desperate low-income persons, skirting existing laws limiting interest rates by claiming they are not traditional financial institutions.
It is not simply the legal duty, but moral and ethical responsibility of citizens and those they elect to establish laws and rules to prevent usurious interest rates.
Given that corporations are legal creations of governments, citizens and governments like the city of Cuyahoga Falls should have the legal authority to create such laws defining the practices of all lending corporations.
One of the major causes of the 2007-8 economic implosion was the blatant actions of large financial institutions in their mortgage lending, skirting laws and taking advantage of low and moderate income persons. The skirting of existing laws by predatory lending corporations today is in its own way just as exploitative.
I applaud the city of Cuyahoga Falls for responding to the will of its citizens who oppose the presence of predatory lenders in their city. Citizens and the city should not be intimidated by legal threats. The city has not only acted legally, but justly and morally.
Director of Northeast Ohio American Friends
Service Committee (a Quaker social action organization)