State and national faith leaders gathered in front of the Trump National Resort in Doral on Tuesday to rally against the annual conference of Community Financial Services Association of America.
Rev. Rachel Gunter Shapard, from Jacksonville, said payday lending catches Floridians in a vicious cycle of debt.
“Their loan is immediately paid off because it’s taken right out of the top of their income," she said. "And then there’s a hole in their budget and they can’t pay their rent, they can’t buy groceries, they have to immediately turn around and take out another loan."
Rev. Shapard said this happens especially frequently in Florida, with people taking out loans up to seven or eight times after their first loan. The issue is not as simple as banning all low-credit lending, however, because low-income households still need access to capital. Policy suggestions from the protestors included a state-driven cap on interest rates for low-credit loans.
“We would love to see more regulation, we would love to see a rate cap here in the state of Florida," Rev. Shapard said. "That’s something only states can do. You can’t do that at the federal level. ”
The CFSAA conference began on Monday and will continue until Thursday of this week.
During this year's session, the Florida Legislature passed a bill allowing the loan companies to lend more money for a longer period time. They can now lend up to $1,000 for 60 to 90 days, up from $500 for seven to 31 days.