April 8, 2016 public statement

Habitat for Humanity supports the SAFE Lending Act to address predatory lending practices and protect consumers

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 8, 2016) – Recognizing that predatory loan practices both online and offline are leaving many Americans trapped in a cycle of debt, Habitat for Humanity supports and encourages U.S. senators to co-sponsor S 2760, the Stopping Abuse and Fraud in Electronic, or SAFE, Lending Act, introduced by Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., to curb predatory lending practices and promote financial stability.

Payday loan usage is higher among low-income households and Habitat is seeing many potential homeowners unable to qualify for its affordable housing programs due to the cycle of debt these loans create.

“Predatory lending in any form, whether online or in-person, must be addressed if we are to see individuals of all income levels reach financial stability,” said Elisabeth Gehl, associate director of Federal Relations at Habitat for Humanity International. “Habitat supports regulations that are reasonable to both lenders and borrowers. Without responsible regulation, the debt trap that payday loans, car title loans and other predatory lending practices create will continue to prevent lower-income people from becoming first-time homebuyers and impinge on lower-income individuals’ ability to pay their mortgage, rent or other critical expenses.”

The SAFE Lending Act aims to curb online payday lending practices that leave consumers in financial straits. Three key provisions of the SAFE Lending Act are: to ensure consumers’ bank accounts cannot be emptied before consumers have a chance to assert their rights; to increase transparency and avoid hidden fees; and to ban lead generators and anonymous payday lending practices.

Watch this video to learn about predatory lending practices and why Habitat supports the SAFE Lending Act and opposes HR 4018.