ALLIANCE TO END PAYDAY LENDING

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bag_of_moneyROBERT L. JOHNSON AND DR. DeFOREST B. SOARIES, JR. ANNOUNCE ALLIANCE TO END PAYDAY LENDING, LOWER MINORITY CONSUMER DEBT, AND PROMOTE FINANCIAL EDUCATION

Agreement Supports RLJ Financials’ Plan to Provide Viable Alternative to Payday Lending for Consumers in Need of Short Term and Emergency Borrowing

BETHESDA, MD//JUNE 24, 2013//Robert L. Johnson, founder and chairman of The RLJ Companies and Dr. DeForest B. Soaries, Jr., senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, New Jersey, announced their alliance to reshape the national financial lending climate and help Americans, particularly minorities, pay down consumer debt, increase household savings, and overcome a cycle of short term and emergency borrowing caused by the excessive use of payday lending.

Nearly twelve million Americans turn to payday loans annually when faced with financial challenges in order to cover emergency expenses and meet cash shortfalls.Forty-one percent of borrowers have needed a cash infusion to pay off a payday loan and many ultimately turn to the same options they could have used instead of payday loans to finally pay off the loan. As a result and because of current high interest lending rates, many borrowers are unable to pay back loans in a timely manner and find themselves in a cycle of borrowing and debt. (Payday Lending in America: How Borrowers Choose and Repay Payday Loans, published February 2013).

Johnson announced earlier this year his financial awareness campaign to “end payday lending as we know it today” and has designated Dr. Soaries and his dfree® program as the financial literacy arm to change the lending climate and help minority consumers overcome recurring debt and achieve financial stability.By encouraging lending institutions to create lower interest borrowing solutions and making consumers more aware of the financial options available to them prior to going into debt,today’s collaboration will offerthe tools and resources consumers need in order to make better and more informed financial decisions.

Founded by Dr. Soaries in 2005,dfree® (www.mydfree.org) is an enterprise that creates solutions for individuals and organizations pursuing financial freedom and economic self-sufficiency. The dfree® strategy begins with the elimination of debt and addresses the root causes of chronic indebtedness.dfree® stands for “Debt, Delinquency and Deficit Free” and the program has reached thousands of consumers nationwide by challenging them to take control of their finances by setting debt reduction goals, paying off debt, increasing awareness and changing behavior as it relates to money and borrowing.

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