Home Diocese Iowa Caucuses, Lawmakers Getting Payday Lending Issue on their Radar

Iowa Caucuses, Lawmakers Getting Payday Lending Issue on their Radar

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WASHINGTON (CNS) — Payday lending, an issue that has resonated in states with big cities, is now getting on the radar in largely rural Iowa, whose biggest city, Des Moines, barely tops 200,000. The Iowa Catholic Conference and evangelical Christians are trying to make it an issue in the upcoming Iowa caucuses. A poll of Iowa Republicans taken earlier in January showed that 60 percent of them opposed payday lending. The rate of opposition, though, jumps to 82 percent when respondents were told the annual percentage rate for a typical loan is 268 percent. Other findings in the poll showed that 78 percent supported requiring payday loan lenders to first determine whether a borrower can repay the loan before issuing it, and 74 percent backed limiting interest rates to 36 percent a year. The opposition to payday loans was especially strong among those who called themselves religious conservatives, 87 percent of whom said they opposed payday loans in Iowa once they were told the average annual percentage rate. The Iowa Catholic Conference, the public policy arm of the state’s bishops, and the Family Leader Awareness Network, an Iowa-based evangelical organization, commissioned the poll, conducted by GCA Public Opinion Strategies and sponsored by the Center for Responsible Lending.