Representatives from Alabama Appleseed, a non-profit organization that works to address social problems through legal advocacy, community involvement and policy expertise, accepted a $1,000 grant on Thursday, November 12, 2009, from the Alabama State Bar Young Lawyer’s Section (YLS). Beasley Allen attorney Navan Ward, who serves as secretary for the YLS, presented the check to Appleseed Executive Director John A. Pickens and Legal Director Shay Farley. The money will benefit Appleseed’s work in the area of payday loan reform.

Payday loan reform focuses on documenting the plight of consumers in Alabama trapped by payday loan debt and recording the abuses of the payday lending industry, as well as researching viable alternatives to payday loans. According to information from the Appleseed program, payday loans may charge consumers interest rates as high as 400 percent, trapping them in a cycle of high-cost debt. Appleseed advocates a 36 percent annual interest rate cap that forces lenders to offer products that are more affordable or give borrowers a reasonable amount of time to pay them off. The cap is the only policy solution that has stopped predatory payday lending in 15 states and the District of Columbia.

“The work that Appleseed has done in the area of predatory lending is tremendous,” Ward said. “My firm represents people who have fallen victim to countless instances where extraordinary fees or threats of foreclosure are the result of predatory lending practices. However, due to efforts to institute payday loan reforms by groups like Appleseed, borrowers are able to have more reasonable terms to pay their loans off.”

Throughout the years, the Young Lawyers Section of the Alabama State Bar has helped fund a number of law-related community projects, including the establishment of the annual Minority Pre-Law Conference in Montgomery and Birmingham, and helping to fund a Teen Court program in Andalusia. To help expand its reach, in 2009 the YLS established a Special Grants Program, which will provide up to $3,000 in grants each year for specific law-related projects or organizations that provide low or no cost legal services within the state of Alabama. For more information or a grant application, visit the YLS online at www.alabamayls.org or contact Shay Lawson at 205-752-0644.

About Alabama Appleseed

The mission of Alabama Appleseed is to identify root causes of injustice and inequality and to develop and advocate for solutions that will improve the lives of all Alabamians.  We work for constructive and lasting systemic change of policies and practices in Alabama that detrimentally and unfairly affect residents of the state. For more information, visit www.alabamaappleseed.org



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