Village News Commentary -- Usury: Christians, Jews, Muslims say no

With only one dissenting vote, three vehicle-title lending businesses were approved by the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors. They have one more application to consider and it’s the most egregious of all. Although the County should not have approved any request by predatory lenders, this one will prey on those who can afford it least. Would you finance your car at 220 percent interest?

We know that our Board is made of good, God-fearing people, so I am curious as to why they would not have consulted the Book that advises them on how to live their lives when it involves title lenders. The Bible, Torah and Quran teach the same basic dogma.  “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” – Luke 6:31. Would you charge your neighbor 220 percent interest on money he needed to send his wife to the doctor?

The good Books contain numerous prohibitions against usury; the act of overcharging interest on money loaned. The Old Testament contains the following: If you lend money to one of your poor neighbors among my people, you shall not act like an extortioner toward him… – Exodus.

Centuries later Gordon Gekko rose to prominence in the movie “Wall Street” as a corporate raider and insider trader. In his famous speech before the stockholders of Teldar Paper, Gekko stated, “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right.”

“But is greed truly good?” said Tarcisio Bertone, when speaking to the Italian Parliament about usury. “The issue of greed and avarice in society is certainly not unique to the realm of literature and film; it is an all too significant issue in today’s complex world. In today’s economic world, just as it has done in the past, the practice of usury often threatens the most weak and vulnerable in society.”

According to a recent Associated Press story, “data recently published by Virginia regulators, suggests car title lenders gave out more than 161,500 loans worth about $180 million in 2012, up from nearly 128,500 loans worth more than $125 million made the year before. The number of car title lending locations increased from 378 to 395 over the last year.” LoanMax who is seeking conditional use permission for a location at Osborne Road and Jefferson Davis Highway was one of them.

The article continued, “Loans were issued to about 132,690 individuals in 2012, up about 26 percent from the year earlier. And 20 percent of borrowers failed to make a monthly payment on a car title loan for at least 60 days.”



There is no rational reason the lenders were approved by the BOS unless the votes were bought.

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