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Put a Cap on Predatory Lending - Payday Loans

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ESTHER along with WISDOM affiliates will push for a cap to be placed on lending interest rates issued by payday loan and predatory lenders.

  • Most predatory small dollar lenders only require a paycheck stub and photo ID to receive a loan. There are no underwriting standards to ensure a borrower’s ability to pay back the loan.
  • Predatory lenders charge triple-digit interest rates. Interest rates on a two-week loan average 550% APR compared to the average national credit card APR of 13%.
  • The short repayment term and triple digit interest trap borrowers on a debt treadmill that churns borrowers for more fees. More than 80% of borrowers get trapped as soon as the loan is due.

Representative Hintz and Senator Hansen have introduced the Predatory Lending Consumer Protection Act aimed at reducing interest rates on loans issued by payday lenders to 36%.

We are working to have this Act assigned to the Consumer Protection Committee so that we can move this issue forward. Assembly Speaker Michael Sheridan needs to hear that this is an issue affecting our communities.

In Madison on Wednesday, September 16th at 9:00am, ESTHER will join others from across Wisconsin to meet with our legislators.  The time to end predatory lending is now!

A briefing on predatory lending will be held followed by legislative visits where we can express our concerns and demands.  Consider joining ESTHER leaders on this day, carpooling will be available.  Share this information with those in your congregation that may be interested in ending predatory lending and ask that they join us as well. 

If you are interested in joining ESTHER, email us at  to get information on carpooling.


Help us build support. Agencies, businesses and organizations, CLICK HERE to join the statewide coalition.


Legislative Joint Finance Committee in Appleton on April 1

No foolin'! The committee was in session in Lawrence University's Stansbury Theatre from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Opening to a packed crowd, the meeting offered opportunities for citizens and interest groups to share their views and positions on items included in (or omitted from) the Governor's proposed 2010-11 budget. ESTHER was well represented. Gwen Gibson and Rev. Maynard Beemer spoke (see photo) on behalf of earned early release and drivers certificates for immigrants who cannot get driver's licenses because of RealID. Representatives from JOSHUA were also present and spoke.


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According to, Money Smart Week Wisconsin, a public awareness initiative, (October 10-17th) “aims to build your financial knowledge so you can deal with your own money more quickly, confidently and shrewdly. “
Appleton Area School District has received the 2009 award for best practices through the Council on Financial Literacy, established by Governor Jim Doyle, the group that oversees Money Smart Week.

Is Wisconsin smart with its money? There has been considerable talk in our local newspapers on payday lending, which begs the question, is payday lending smart money? After Wisconsin lifted its cap on lending, once set at 18% in the mid 1990’s, payday lending stores have taken our state by storm.

The Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) sites that the average borrower pays $800 to borrow $300. As the borrower attempts to pay the loan back, they fall behind on living expenses and look for assistance in meeting basic needs. This puts a burden on our state and county budgets as well as social service organizations that provide food and assistance to cover rent and utilities.

Most payday lending locations are part of out-of-state franchises that have no commitment to community investment. Unlike most banks and credit unions, payday lending stores do not give back to the local community. Jobs created by these lending stores offer very low pay, little to no benefits and have high turnover rates.

Our Representatives and Senators need to hear that payday lending is a burden on our communities, it teaches citizens to become financially dependant rather than secure, and it is absolutely not money smart. We need a cap on payday lending.

ESTHER is collecting stories of those impacted by the negative practices of payday lending. If you or someone that you know has a story, please contact us. If you were an employee of a payday lending store, please contact us to share your experience.

For more information, visit:

Wisconsinites for Responsible Lending

Center for Responsible Lending

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