Minnesotans overwhelming reject payday loans Community and faith groups to announce polling results in Duluth

For more information, contact:
Pre-press conference: Bob Hulteen – (612) 501-9186
Director of Communications and Public Voice, Minneapolis Area Synod, ELCA Post-press conference: Meghan Olsen Biebighauser – (612) 708-9182
Economic Justice Organizer, Minnesotans for Fair Lending 

Where:             Liberty Statue, Duluth, Minnesota
When:              10:30 a.m., Tuesday, August 17

Recent polling provided for Minnesotans for Fair Lending and the Minneapolis Area Synod demonstrates that about more than 60% of Minnesotans believe that payday lending should be capped at 36% interest or less, and of those who opposed the 36%, most did so because they believed that interest rate to be too high. In 2020, the most recent year with accurate data, the average interest rate on payday loans in Minnesota was 208%, according to self-reported statistics from the payday lending industry to the Minnesota Department of Commerce. The poll results will be released at a press conference at the Liberty Statue in Duluth at 10:30 a.m., on Tuesday, August 17.

“Taking advantage of people in difficult financial situations, which is called usury, is wrong,” offers Ryan Hamilton, Government Relations Associate, Minnesota Catholic Conference. “Prevailing payday lending practices around Minnesota that impose sky-high interest rates exploit individuals and families who need a short-term loan to cover necessities. Lawmakers should feel emboldened by the strong public support for interest rate caps and should find other ways to create access to capital so that families are not entrapped in cycles of perpetual debt.”

“The state legislature has debated for years the protection of consumers through limiting the interest charged on payday loans,” says Deb Smith, Northeast Minnesota Organizer, Minnesotans for Fair Lending. “But the state legislature has failed to cross the finish line, even though Minnesotans across the political spectrum are united in wanting a cap on this predatory industry.”

The recent polling provided by Emerson College shows that a vast majority of Minnesotans polled reject predatory interest rates for working class people regardless of political party. “A cap on payday lending is not a partisan issue for the voters,” explained Ryan Hamilton, Government Relations Associate, Minnesota Catholic Conference. “While there is a perception that elected officials are making decisions based purely on party affiliation at the state legislature, the reality is that Minnesota voters are united in support of capping payday loans at 36% or less.”

Eighteen states and the District of Columbia have already capped payday loans at 36%. After years of legislative inaction, the City of Moorhead recently passed an ordinance capping the loans at 33% and requiring licensure through the city. South Dakota changed its law in 2016 through a referendum where 75.6% of South Dakotans voted for the cap; Nebraskans did the same a little over a year ago at 83% of voters.

Supporters of the Minnesota cap will share the polling results with the media at a press conference at Liberty Statue, near the DECC in Duluth, Minnesota, at 10:30 a.m., on Tuesday, August 17. Speakers will include:

  • Deb Smith, Northeast Minnesota Organizer, Minnesotans for Fair Lending
  • Ryan Hamilton, Government Relations Associate, Minnesota Catholic Conference
  • Sara Nelson-Pallmeyer, Executive Director, Exodus Lending
  • Patrice Critchley-Menor, Director of Social Apostolate, Diocese of Duluth
  • John Cole, Executive Director, Churches United in Ministry, CHUM, awaiting confirmation
  • Rep. Liz Olson, Minnesota House Member, District 07B, awaiting confirmation

Polling results are linked here. Questions about Emerson College polling can be addressed to emersonpolling@emerson.edu.