On January 29, Francis referred to usury as “a dramatic social ill.”
There's a reason for the biblical bans on usury: in a zero-growth world, lending money at interest is quite likely to ruin people.
Biblical and Islamic bans on "usury" (lending money at interest) strike most modern people as pretty silly.
c.1300, from Medieval Latin usuria, from Latin usura "usury, interest," from usus, from stem of uti (see use (v.)). Originally the practice of lending money at interest, later, at excessive rates of interest.
The practice of charging more than the legal interest rate.
the sum paid for the use of money, hence interest; not, as in the modern sense, exorbitant interest. The Jews were forbidden to exact usury (Lev. 25:36, 37), only, however, in their dealings with each other (Deut. 23:19, 20). The violation of this law was viewed as a great crime (Ps. 15:5; Prov. 28:8; Jer. 15:10). After the Return, and later, this law was much neglected (Neh. 5:7, 10).