Fresno City Council Approves Ordinance to Restrict Payday Lenders

Fresno, CA, June 26, 2014- The City of Fresno passed an ordinance to restrict the growth of new payday loan stores in the city today. The vote came after over a year of campaigning by local faith leaders, community-based organizations and advocates. Last November, the City Council approved a resolution directing city staff to develop the proposal to regulate the siting of new payday lending businesses. The policy directly addresses the over-proliferation of payday loan locations in low-income neighborhoods in Fresno by creating a conditional use permit requirement and quarter mile separation between stores.

The California Reinvestment Coalition and other fair lending advocates across the state are campaigning for local land use ordinances in major California cities, and for consumer protections and statewide reforms on the payday loan industry. “Payday lenders charge borrowers outrageous interest and fees, which more often than not trap consumers in an inescapable cycle of debt,” said Liana Molina, an organizer with the California Reinvestment Coalition. “It’s a victory for central valley communities and consumers that the City of Fresno is using their authority to restrict the growth of these predatory businesses.”

The City Council considered a similar proposal in 2008, which failed to garner the votes to pass. The ordinance was unanimously approved and will go into effect immediately. Rev. Dr. Christopher Breedlove, Pastor of Community United Congregational Church and Board Chair of Fresno’s Faith In Community (FIC) said,”Today’s significant action by the Fresno City Council is an important start to mitigating the adverse impacts of payday loan stores. Communities of faith, through FIC, applaud the courage and compassion of City Council members to stem the tide of modern day usury that preys on the hardship of the working poor.”