WASHINGTON – A coalition of consumer and community development groups, including the National Community Reinvestment Coalition and the Consumer Federation of America, have petitioned the Federal Reserve to shut down the payday lending operation of a Federal Reserve bank. The First Bank of Delaware is a state-chartered bank owned by the Republic First Bancorp in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The $25 million institution is a member of the Federal Reserve and had $5 million in payday loans on its books at the end of 2002, the activists have charged. Payday loans are quick cash loans based on the borrower’s personal check held for future deposits. Activists have charged the interest rates in payday lending are usurious and some credit unions around the country have begun offering their members payday loan alternative products. The coalition has petitioned the Federal Reserve to take action against First Delaware because, they have charged, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has not done enough to keep state-chartered banks from engaging in payday lending. The Office of Comptroller of the Currency, which regulates federally chartered banks, has acted to shut down several payday lending operations partnered with national banks.

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