Well, not technically payday lending, but 'loansharking' (which many would say is six of one; half dozen of the other). But it is true, he's taking on those institutions which charge usurious fees that enslave borrowers under a mountain of debt.
"The pope's comments at his general audience coincided with statistics issued on Wednesday by the country's tax police that showed they had seized some 168 million euros from loansharks in 2013, up some 1,250 percent over the previous year."
""When a family has nothing to eat, because it has to make payments to usurers, this is not Christian, it is not human," the pope said."
""This dramatic scourge in our society harms the inviolable dignity of the human person," he said, expressing his support for Italian groups who help families and businesses and who attended the audience."
"A number of Catholic associations in Italy help victims of loansharks. According Abele, a Catholic social services group, the illicit lenders are tied to organized crime and charge annual interest rates that can reach 1,500 percent in some cases. The annual rate is usually between 150 and 400 percent."
The pope's attitude toward such business practices makes it plain that his sympathies are with the borrowers and not with the lenders. Would to God that were true with the American politicians. Oh, to be sure, there are pockets of resistance where the government is fighting back. The New York attorney general, for instance, recently compelled a cluster of payday loan services to pay refunds and penalties to borrowers after it was discovered they were charging compound annual interest rates of 89 to 355 percent. That's a clear violation of New York's usury law, which sets the maximum interest rate for most loans at 16 percent.
|U.S. Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA)|