Payday Lending Petitions Gearing Up for November Ballot

IPL is working with OTOC leaders and volunteers for the Payday Ballot Initiative, coordinating volunteer signature gatherers and leading presentations around Omaha.

Kevin Graham leads a presentation at Urban Abbey in February

What is the “Nebraskans for Responsible Lending Campaign”?

A coalition of nonprofits across the state have teamed up to put this issue on the ballot. This requires getting 85,000 signatures of registered voters before July 3, 2020. Within these 85,000 signatures, 36 counties need 5% o their registered voters to sign. Then, if the issue qualifies, it will be on the November 2020 ballot for Nebraskans to vote on.

Amend Nebraska statutes to reduce the amount that delayed deposit services licensees, also known as payday lenders, can charge to a maximum annual percentage rate of thirty-six percent; to prohibit payday lenders from evading this rate cap; and to deem void and uncollectable any transaction made in violation of this rate cap.

If this Petition is placed on the 2020 ballot and passed by Nebraska voters, Sections 45-918 and 45-919 of the Delayed Deposit Services Licensing Act statutes would be amended to reflex the object of this Petition.

Key Dates:

July 3, 2020 – Petition signatures must be turned in
Nov.3, 2020 – Election Day

Payday Lending Coalition Member List

AARP of Nebraska, ACLU of Nebraska, Habitat for Humanity of Omaha, Nebraska Appleseed, Nebraska Civic Engagement Table, Omaha Together One Community (OTOC), Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, Voices for Children in Nebraska, Women’s Fund of Omaha

Learn more about the Nebraskans for Responsible Lending campaign here

Rod Kuhlman and Richard Blocker present at Augustana Lutheran. Want to have a presentation at your church? Keep reading to learn more!

What can I do to help?

  • Attend next OTOC Payday Lending Reform Action Team meeting on Tuesday March 3, 7- 8 pm, First United Methodist Church, 7020 Cass St.
  • Meet with a Payday Lending leader to learn more. Contact us at to schedule an individual meeting
  • Host an info session at you congregation/organization about why we are having this ballot initiative to reform Payday Lending in Nebraska. Contact Kevin Graham at to arrange a presentation
  • Walk in your neighborhood to gather signatures. Contact Greta Carlson at to learn how to get a walk list for your block.
  • Gather signatures in your congregation/organization. Email Richard Blocker at to get trained on collecting signatures. Petitions available on the OTOC office. Call 402-344-4401
Leaders learn how to properly collect signatures from Leader Richard Blocker.

What is Payday Lending and why is it predatory?

Payday loans, also known as cash advance loans or delayed deposit loans, are small dollar loans often sought by low-income borrows in emergency situations.

Here’s an example of how it works:

Mary earns $15.00/hour assisting in our public schools.  She has two elementary school children.  She has gross pay of $1,200 every two weeks ($31,200/yr). Her take home pay is $950 every two weeks.  After paying rent/utilities & car payment, her disposable income is $300 every two weeks.

Mary needs her car to get to work and now needs to get it repaired costing $650.  She only has $350 in savings, so she goes to a Payday Lender for the other $300.

2/1       Mary writes a check to the Payday Lender for $353 and receives $300.  The Payday Lender will not cash her check but will hold it until she pays off the loan.

2/15     Mary gets paid at work, but cannot afford to payoff the loan of $300 from that check so she just pays a $53 fee and hopes to pay it off next payday.

2/28     It’s payday for Mary, but again she cannot afford to payoff the loan

This cycle continues for Mary the next 7 paydays with her paying a $53 fee each time.

6/30     Mary works extra hours for summer school and is now able to payoff the loan.

So what has Mary paid in fees for this loan:

$53 the day she got the loan   +   $53 on 2/1   +   $53 on 2/15   +   $53 on 7 more paydays

It cost Mary $530 in fees ($53 fee x 10) for this $300 loan to repair her car.

$300 loan  +  $530 in fees for a total of $830 over the course of about 5 months.

This adds up to an annual accumulated interest rate of around 400% depending on how long a borrow is trapped in the cycle. There are also no options for a payment plan to help pay off the principle lean. Just reoccurring fees until you are able to pay back the full amount.

Leaders at an Urban Abbey Issue Cafe on February 11