Building off years of coalition-building and organizing, the Springfield-Ozarks’ Workers’ Rights Board and member organization Missouri Faith Voices successfully lobbied the Springfield City Council to pass an ordinance to regulate predatory payday lenders who operate in Springfield city limits. For months, City Council stalled on this important issue with some members parroting back payday loan company and Chamber of Commerce talking points. Our grassroots power, through storytelling, press conferences, rallies, phone calls, and meetings with councilmembers, kept the pressure up – leading the Council to finally refer the ordinance to the ballot.
In August, Springfield voters passed the ordinance which requires posting the true APR of these predatory loans and an annual $5,000 permit for payday loan stores. Since the industry is already price gouging the borrower with an average interest rate of 462% and can legally charge up to 1,950%, this permit fee represents pennies compared to the industry’s millions of dollars of profits that leave our local economy and to their out-of-state headquarters.