FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, January 6, 2020
Contact: Roberta Oster
Communications Director, 804-615-4192
Faith Leaders and Activists Held Prayer Vigil outside Title Max to Stop Predatory Lending Practices
Jan. 6, 2020 – Yorktown – A group of 25 pastors and activists prayed and told painful stories about predatory lending practices outside of the Title Max office in Yorktown this afternoon. They were highlighting the scourge of unregulated predatory lending practices in Virginia. The prayer vigil was led by Rev. Charles Swadley and Rev. Dr. Anthony Fludd. (VIDEO OF REV. FLUDD)
The prayer vigil was organized by the James River Chapter of the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy (VICPP), a statewide non-profit that advocates economic, racial, environmental and social justice in Virginia. VICPP board member John Whitley said, “We recognize the need to stand up and speak up against predatory lending. It is a factor that has impacted more lives than we can even imagine. So today we say, enough!” (VIDEO OF JOHN WHITLEY)
Virginia is known as the East Coast capital of predatory lending and the Yorktown Title Max is just one of 650 payday and title lenders in Virginia who loan money at high interest rates to low income people in a financial crisis. These lenders charge unaffordable rates of up to 300 percent, trapping people in debt, draining family budgets and holding back local economies across the Commonwealth.
Latasha Drax, who attended the prayer vigil, told a story of getting caught up in the cycle of high-interest loans that nearly ruined her, “I got caught up in that cycle, the vicious cycle of, you take it (the loan) because you are in need at that moment…and it becomes a frustrating cycle that is overwhelming and…you need the support.” (VIDEO OF LATASHA DRAX)
The Virginia Interfaith Center, together with the Virginia Poverty Law Center, is supporting common sense, comprehensive predatory lending reform that will be introduced by Senator Locke (D-2nd) and Delegate Bagby (D-74th) in the upcoming General Assembly.