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10 is enough religious groups tell lenders
DURHAM, N.C. (7/27/09)--Religious leaders and community organizers from throughout North Carolina demonstrated in Durham Wednesday as part of an international "10% is Enough" campaign, which seeks to cap interest rates charged by banks and credit card companies. Some credit unions agree with them. The activists had planned to march to five financial institutions, including three credit unions (The News & Observer July 23). However, two Durham-based credit unions saved them the trip. Self-Help Community CU CEO Martin Eakes and Latino Community CU CEO Luis Pastor attended the demonstration. Eakes, speaking to the crowd, said there is a reason every religion has had a prohibition against usury. "It's because the lending of money is unlike any other product. Lending money can get someone deeper into a hole just with the passage of time and no other action," he said, according to the newspaper. The activists delivered a paper developed by scholars from eight theological schools in the state to SunTrust, Mechanics and Farmers Bank, and Generations Community CU in downtown Durham. The paper provides a religious rationale for capping interest rates. The 10% cap relates to the biblical concept of tithing, or giving 10% of one's income back to the church. Interest rates for credit cards average between 12% and 14% in the past year, according to surveys. Some rates were much higher. Consumer Action's annual survey found rates as high as 22.75%. North Carolina law caps interest on some loans at 8% but a federal law passed in 1980 exempts federal banks and mortgage companies from state usary limits.
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