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Letter: General Assembly: Protectors of predatory lending

Editor, Gazette-Journal:

Is usury evil? Is it wrong to charge working class Virginians interest rates of 300 to 400 percent APR? Should predatory lenders bilking citizens of millions of dollars each year be given license to operate with impunity in Virginia?

These are not hypothetical questions. For several years now, social advocates and faith-based organizations have been trying to end usury and predatory lending in Virginia by imposing a 36 percent APR, no-fee cap on loans. Most people think 36 percent is outrageous and consider that to be usury.

The payday and car title lenders have convinced a cadre of leaders in the General Assembly that consumers are in desperate need of these loans and that the lenders cannot make a profit at 36 percent! Consequently, the leadership of the General Assembly refuses to impose a cap and has become the protector of predatory lenders in Virginia.

If the overwhelming majority of citizens are right that usury and predatory lending are clearl...

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