Local activist to meet with Federal Reserve Board chairman to discuss financial reform

Sunday, March 7, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CST

COLUMBIA — Columbia resident Brenda Procter will meet with Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Tuesday to discuss financial reforms that will protect and empower consumers.

Procter, who co-founded Grass Roots Organizing is meeting Bernanke as part of a delegation from National People's Action, a network of organizations that campaign for social and economic justice.

Procter said she will speak to Bernanke specifically about what she calls the "cycle of debt" that traps many low-income families in need of emergency loans. She said she hopes to persuade Bernanke to encourage large banks to stop funding payday loan companies.

She also wants large national banks to work together to provide an alternative to what she calls the "toxic product" of high-interest loans.

As an MU Extension instructor with the department of personal financial planning, Procter frequently works with low-income families. She said she frequently meets with families who have multiple high-interest loans because they are forced to renew an existing loan or take out a second loan to pay off the first one.

Last August, Procter was part of a group of grassroots organizations that met with members of the Federal Reserve Board in Kansas City to discuss financial reform. The gathering was part of a series of community meetings between Federal Reserve Board members and consumer activists throughout the country.

Tuesday's meeting with Bernanke will serve as a follow up to last summer's discussions, Procter said.

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