For Immediate Release
Contact: Terri Sterling
Boise, ID – Idaho Community Action Network was one of four Idaho grassroots organizations to receive a grant from Fund for Idaho to support their work to build a strong base of low income and working families from both white and Latino communities. ICAN continues to grow and invest in base-building, exploring new models and organizing techniques that will build membership across Idaho’s vast geography with low staff support. ICAN works on immigration reform, health care access and fair lending.
Idaho is 50th in wages and #1 in the highest interest rates on short term loans in the nation. This means more Idahoans are living in poverty and working for minimum wages, without access to healthcare or fair lending. In addition, the political climate in Idaho continues to leave the needs of low-income families unrepresented. For example, 100,000 Idaho families would directly benefit from the Medicaid expansion that continues to be dismissed by the governor and the Idaho Legislature. To move a progressive agenda ICAN must raise up the stories of Idaho’s working and poor families, propose clear alternatives and highlight the benefits to families, communities and the state, while organizing across Idaho’s vast geography and diversity.
ICAN was established in 1999 to provide a voice for Idahoans committed to progressive social change and to develop the power necessary to create those changes. Over the last 14 years, ICAN has established a proven track record of winning real changes in the lives of families throughout the state of Idaho on important issues including: fair lending, immigration, education, fair worker benefits, healthcare and food insecurity.
Now in its 15th year of operation ICAN’s families are continuing the fight for economic justice by addressing three critical issues: the need to expand health care so that all Idahoans have access, the need to address immigration reform so that families move out of the shadows, and fair lending reform so that families have access to sound financial resources.
A new fact sheet published by Pew Charitable Trusts reports that Idahoans pay the highest fees on payday and title loans in the United States!
How State Rate Limits Affect Payday Loan Prices, documents Idaho’s interest rate for these loans at 582% APR.
Idaho families are struggling with low wages and high interest rates. This problem was highlighted by low income families in Caldwell who had lost cars, jobs and homes because of predatory lenders. ICAN members in Caldwell worked with the Caldwell City Council to limit the growth of these businesses, as a first step in protecting their residents.
These high fees also attribute to the loss of small businesses and jobs, which has an impact on us all. When working families pay high interest fees, they have less cash to spend in their communities. Idaho’s Main Streets began to resemble ghost towns, as local businesses bear the impact when local economies dry up.
Pew also lists policy recommendations to help states establish fair lending policies.
“Policymakers in states with conventional payday lending can reduce the harm caused by unaffordable payments and noncompetitive prices by implementing Pew’s policy recommendations:
- Limit payments to an affordable percentage of a borrower’s periodic income. Pew’s research indicates that monthly payments above 5 percent of gross monthly income are unaffordable.
- Spread costs evenly over the life of the loan.
- Guard against harmful repayment or collection practices.
- Require concise disclosures that reveal both periodic and total costs.
- States should continue to set maximum allowable charges on loans for those with poor credit. In states that have permitted higher interest rates than Colorado’s, storefronts have proliferated, with no obvious additional benefit to consumers.”
In light of Idaho Legislature not passing a rate cap to protect citizens from predatory lending, ICAN is asking all cities in Idaho to adopt resolutions supporting these recommendations. Without strong state regulations City Councils must step up and protect local economies, hard working residents and local small businesses. To support our Fair Lending Campaign, please call 208-385-9146.
ICAN is hosting it’s 2014 Youth Leadership Training this Saturday at the Hispanic Cultural Center in Nampa. Training will begin at 11:00 am and end at 3:00 pm with lunch provided.
Youth 14 and older can attend. We will be going over community organizing, civic engagement work and leadership skills. Please register by calling Krista at 208-390-5352.