Texas Catholic Conference: Close the Pit of Despair Caused by Payday Loans

Pictured above: Bishop Placido Rodriguez of the Lubbock Diocese and Father Martin Piña pray for those caught in the payday lending debt trap.
[Lubbock, TX] At a forum sponsored by the West Texas Organizing Strategy on March 9th, clergy and community members were appalled to learn that the city of Lubbock has thirty-three payday and auto title lenders catching people in the debt trap. Representatives from the Texas Catholic Conference and Texas Appleseed conducted the information sessions. As reported in the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, Lubbock’s payday and title lenders collected nearly $9 million in fees in 2014 and repossessed an average of 10 vehicles a week.

Activists demanded solutions like joining the dozens of cities across Texas that have banned payday lending, and calling on Congressional Representative Randy Nuegebauer to support a strong rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to regulate payday, car title, and abusive installment loans.

Local FOX32 affiliate and other press also attended the opening of the Pit of Despair, a visual depiction of the debt trap that serves as the basis for predatory payday lending businesses. Although the issue is grave for many working families who fall into a cycle of debt, participants had fun pretending to rescue one another from the depths of the pit.

See coverage from the FOX34 affiliate and the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

Presbyterian Reverend Rich Schempp and Carol Schempp try to save their friend.
Maria Mendoza and Sr. Felipa Lara of the St Joseph Catholic Church point out how payday lenders target their communities.