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Iowa Republican Caucus-Goers Strongly Oppose Predatory Payday Loans

January 14, 2016

New Polling Shows 82% of likely GOP Caucus-Attendees Oppose High Interest Rate Loans

Des Moines -- Iowa Republican caucus-goers are strongly opposed to companies issuing payday loans, according to a new poll released by a broad coalition of faith-based and community based organizations committed to ending harmful debt traps in Iowa.

The polling, which was conducted by GCA Public Opinion Strategies and sponsored by the Center for Responsible Lending, found that 60% of Republican caucus participants oppose payday lending and that number climbs to 82% after voters learn that the average Iowa payday loan carries a 268% annual percentage rate (APR). 78% supported requiring payday loan lenders to first determine whether a borrower can repay the loan before issuing it and 74% supported limiting interest rates to 36%.

Opposition to payday loans is especially strong among religious conservatives, 87% say they oppose payday loans in Iowa after they hear the average APR, with 68% saying they are strongly opposed.

The polling is available here.

“People of faith in Iowa, especially evangelical conservatives are strongly against payday loans when they hear the ridiculous interest rates this industry is charging. The Bible very clearly states usury is wrong. This is truly a bi-partisan issue and all Iowans from every walk of life and political belief want to see something done with an industry that has been taking advantage of members of our community often at one of their most vulnerable times.” Said Greg Baker, Executive Director of The Family Leader Ambassador Network.

“Payday loans contribute toward creating economic dependency and high long-term debt for families. We support reforming payday lending for Iowans,” said Tom Chapman, Executive Director of the Iowa Catholic Conference.

“Everyday folks want to see elected officials and other regulators step up to the plate and enact common sense regulations to combat usury and predatory lending that too often hurts our families and communities.” Said Matthew Covington with Iowa CCI.

“Families in Iowa are currently being destroyed by predatory lending practices.  Unbelievable interest rates cause people to make the choice of paying on a loan that they probably can never repay instead of paying for housing and food for their families.  These practices need to be eliminated immediately to preserve Iowa families and protect our children.” Said Jan Henryson, Director of the Center for Financial Education in Sioux Center.

Background on Predatory Debt Traps in Iowa

Ten cities in Iowa have passed ordinances limiting the locations of new payday loan stores but advocates say the ordinances fail to address the extremely high interest rates charged by payday lenders.

A 2010 report shows that the average payday loan amount at one of Iowa's 274 payday loan stores was $328, and the industry as a whole made over $321.8 million that year.

The new “” coalition aims to counter the heavy influence payday lenders have in the Iowa legislature and pass legislation aimed at protecting Iowans that rely on payday lending services. According to, the Community Financial Services Association, the national payday loan industry organization, spent nearly $290,000 lobbying the Iowa legislature between 2008 and 2013.

For more information and a list of the campaign’s supporters visit