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Catholic Institutions Help Communities Confront Pay Day Lending

We engage community organizations in advocating for pay day lending reform in the state of Texas. After hearing from Catholic Charities agencies in our state that predatory payday lenders were wreaking havoc on many low-income communities in Texas, we at the Texas Catholic Conference (TCC) convened leaders from parishes, Catholic Charities agencies, and community organizations to respond. We first conducted listening sessions, interviews, and surveys with people impacted in order to better understand the problem. Next, we developed a “Pay Day Road Show” to educate and engage those at risk of being victimized by payday lenders. Implementing the show helped us to develop a strong state-wide coalition. Coalition members were able to bring our findings and stories to a roundtable discussion with the director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is now in the process of issuing rules on payday and auto-title lenders. We also engaged in advocacy around payday lending throughout the state, which led to the passage of ordinances in dozens of cities and towns, including Dallas, El Paso, Houston and San Antonio. We continue to work to engage and educate legislators in our state about payday lending and its harmful impacts.