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BY Kara Dry & Katie thompson

Every day across the country, vulnerable Americans walk into payday loan storefronts seeking financial help. They are greeted by welcoming staff who affirm that they have indeed come to the right place for help. A short while later, sometimes within minutes, they are given a loan that they are required to repay in two weeks.

While this may sound like borrowers have received the help they desperately need, they have not. Lenders are intentionally deceptive in the marketing practices and in how much it will actually cost to repay a loan, thus trapping borrowers in a cycle of debt that can last for months and even years.

The collateral consequences of payday loans can devastate families financially, emotionally, and psychologically. As Christian citizens, this should compel us to act to protect vulnerable families and to pursue policies that promote public justice. Government, businesses, families, and the Church all meet at the intersection of payday lending, and each has a role to play in protecting families.

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    Each year nearly 12 million Americans take out a payday loan.

    A payday loan is typically a two-week loan that ranges from $100 to $500 with exorbitantly high interest rates attached.

    Nearly one in four borrowers receives some form of public assistance, like disability or social security benefits, as an income source.

    Twelve percent of parents earning less than $50,000 have used a payday loan, compared with four percent of parents earning $50,000 or more.