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Calgary Council Cracks Down on City Payday Loan Operators

In the November 9th meeting of the Calgary City Council a report from the Calgary Planning Commission was presented on the subject of pawn shops and pay day loans in the Calgary area.

Of particular concern to the commission was the tendency for these businesses to coalesce

It reported that there were 82 payday lending […]

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The Perils of Payday Loans | Fresh Updates from RACFresh …

Visit site: The Perils of Payday Loans | Fresh Updates from RACFresh …

The payday loan crisis | Sarah Kendzior

Continue Reading: The payday loan crisis | Sarah Kendzior

Tech Companies Want to Replace Payday Loan Shops – Pacific …

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Banking Committee Chair: 'Payday loan sharks preying on most …

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No on SB 5899: Payday loans don't solve crisis, they create one …

EDITORIAL


(March 13, 2015) – Remember two years ago, when the Republican-controlled Washington State Senate brought our state to the brink of a government shutdown?

The Senate had a list of ideological policy bills upon which they demanded House action before they would agree to an operating budget. After two overtime sessions, cooler heads finally prevailed and Gov. Jay Inslee signed a deal just hours before the budget cycle ended on July 1, prompting The (Everett) Herald to editorialize, “Ideology and partisanship, especially in the Senate, supplanted pragmatism.”

Good times… good times.

One of those 2013 ideological policy bills is back in 2015, and the more solidly Republican-controlled Senate just sent it to the House. It’s SB 5899, which would relax consumer protections against short-term high-interest payday loans that push low-income working families deeper and deeper into debt. The bill would replace the state’s limited payday loans with “installment loans” that would allow up to a year’s worth of interest and fees.

Washington’s current law limits payday loans to $700 per loan and no more than eight loans per year. Borrowers are charged a $95 fee and typically must pay it off in two weeks. Under SB 5899, a $700 loan would cost borrowers up to a total of $1,195 in principal, interest and fees if paid off in six months, and up to a total of $1,579 if it took a full year.

Organized labor and other advocates for low-income working families have joined anti-poverty and consumer groups in opposing SB 5899. Why? Because payday loans don’t solve a financial crisis, they create one. Borrowers often must take a second loan to pay off the first, and so on, leading to a spiral of debt that sucks them dry.

It also harms the economy.

A 2013 study by the Insight Center for Community Economic Development found that the national burden of repaying payday loans in 2011 led to $774 million in lost consumer spending, the loss of more than 14,000 jobs, and an increase in Chapter 13 bankruptcies. The study found that each dollar of interest paid to payday lenders subtracted $1.94 from the economy due to reduced household spending, while only adding $1.70 to payday lending establishments. It’s an anti-multiplier effect. For every dollar of interest paid in payday loan interest, the economy lost a quarter.

Remember last fall’s election, when voters were demanding greater access to short-term high-interest loans? Neither do we.

The 2015 legislative session was supposed to focus on last fall’s big campaign issues: funding basic education and transportation, addressing income inequality, and making sure our tax dollars (and tax incentives) are efficiently spent. How did promoting payday lending get in there again?

It began last fall, all right. But it didn’t come from the public, it came from Seattle-based payday lender MoneyTree.

Jim Brunner of The Seattle Times wrote an explosive story last week outing Moneytree as leading the full-court lobbying press to relax payday lending laws. He reports that the effort began last fall when the company and its executives, who traditionally direct their political contributions to Republicans, “sought to strengthen ties with Democrats, boosting donations to Democratic legislator campaigns in last fall’s elections, and quietly employing a well-connected Seattle public-affairs firm that includes the political fundraiser for Gov. Jay Inslee and other top Democrats.”

On Tuesday, a heroic effort was made by most of the Senate’s Democratic minority caucus to stop SB 5899 or amend it to lower the interest and fees payday lenders can charge. But those efforts were thwarted, and after a passionate debate that lasted more than two hours, the bill passed the Senate, 30-18, with Democratic Sens. Brian Hatfield, Steve Hobbs, Karen Keiser, Marko Liias, and Kevin Ranker joining all Republicans (except Sen. Kirk Pearson) in voting “yes.”

Now it heads over to the House, where its companion bill died without a floor vote after Wednesday’s cutoff deadline. The question is, given Moneytree’s… outreach… to Democrats, will it again die in their House? Will it again become embroiled in end-game budget negotiations to try to force its passage?

We hope not.

We agree with state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who sent a letter to legislators opposing the bill, saying our state’s payday-lending system includes important safeguards for consumers “and does not need to be overhauled.”

We also agree with The (Tacoma) News Tribune, which wrote that payday lenders’ efforts to pass SB 5899 “have nothing to do with helping poor people and everything to do with their bottom line. Lawmakers should see this legislation for what it is and reject it. If it passes, Gov. Jay Inslee should veto it.”


The Stand is the news service of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO.

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Missouri AG Koster shuts down predatory payday loans | SEMO TIMES

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Attorney General Chris Koster announced yesterday that he has obtained an agreement with eight online payday loan operations to shut down payday loan operations in Missouri, provide $270,000 in consumer restitution, and erase all loan balances for Missouri consumers.

Koster said Martin A. “Butch” Webb acted through numerous business entities operating from a Native American reservation in South Dakota, including Payday Financial, Western Sky Financial, Lakota Cash, Great Sky Finance, Red Stone Financial, Big Sky Cash, Lakota Cash, and Financial Solutions, none of which were licensed to do business in Missouri. These businesses sold short-term loans with exorbitant fees and forced consumers to agree to have their future wages garnished without going through the court system as required by Missouri law.

The Attorney General’s Office received 57 complaints from consumers who were collectively charged approximately $25,000 in excess fees. The Attorney General’s investigation subsequently discovered as many as 6,300 other Missourians who may have also been charged excessive fees. One Missouri consumer was charged a $500 origination fee on a $1,000 loan, which was immediately rolled into the principal of the loan. She was charged 194 percent APR and eventually paid more than $4,000.

“These predatory lending businesses operated in the shadows, taking advantage of Missourians through outrageous fees and unlawful garnishments,” said Koster. “Webb may have thought that by operating on tribal land he could avoid compliance with our state’s laws. He was wrong.”

Under Missouri law, a payday lender cannot charge “origination” or other such fees in excess of 10 percent of the loan, up to a maximum of $75.

The judgment obtained by Koster permanently prohibits Webb or any of his businesses from making or collecting on any loans in Missouri, and it cancels existing loan balances for his Missouri customers. Webb must also instruct credit reporting agencies to remove all information previously supplied to them about specific consumers. In addition, Webb must pay $270,000 in restitution to consumers and $30,000 in penalties to the state.

Consumers who, while living in Missouri, paid excess origination fees to one of the companies listed above—even if the loan was later sold to a third party—may be eligible to receive restitution under the terms of the judgment. The Attorney General’s office will be contacting eligible consumers.

“My hope is that every Missouri consumer who took out a short-term loan with these companies gets back what they were charged in excess of Missouri law,” said Koster. “The message to online payday lenders is clear: follow Missouri law or you won’t be doing business in our state.”

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The Payday Loan Rule Changes That Only Payday Lenders Want …

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Follow the money: payday lenders gave significant campaign money to legislators who are now trying to undo Washington State’s landmark payday lending reforms.dcwcreations / Shutterstock.com

Washington State passed some of the strongest payday lending reforms in the nation in 2009. But now a group of lawmakers want to scrap those reforms in favor of a proposal backed by Moneytree, a local payday lender.

The rule changes they’re going after limit the size and frequency of payday loans and provide a free installment plan option to help borrowers who can’t pay back their loan when it’s due.

According to data from the Department of Financial Institutions, these reforms hit payday lenders hard. In fact, before the reforms took effect, payday loans were available at 603 locations across Washington and lenders were making more than $1.3 billion in loans per year. Last year, there were only 173 locations and it was a $331 million industry.

Now, a proposal, sponsored by Rep. Larry Springer, D-Kirkland, and Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood, would replace the payday loan system in Washington with a “small consumer installment loan” system that would clear the way for lenders like Moneytree to start offering 6-month to 12-month loans with effective interest rates up to 213 percent.

The proposed law would also increase the maximum size of a loan from $700 to $1,000 and remove the current eight-loan cap, effectively removing the circuit breaker keeping borrowers from getting trapped in a debt cycle.

What’s more, instead of the easy-to-understand fee payday loans we have now, the new loans would have a much more complex fee structure consisting of an amortized 15 percent origination fee, a 7.5 percent monthly maintenance fee, and a 36 percent annual interest rate.

It is incomprehensible, after years of working on payday reforms that finally worked in Washington, that lawmakers would throw out that law and replace it with one created by Moneytree.” says Bruce Neas, an attorney with Columbia Legal Services, a group that provides legal assistance to low-income clients.

Proponents say the new system could save borrowers money. And they’re right, technically, since interest and fees accrue over the life of the loan. However, a loan would need to be paid off in around five weeks or less for that to pencil out—and that seems highly unlikely. In Colorado, which has a similar installment loan product, the average loan is carried for 99 days. What’s more, according the National Consumer Law Center, “loan flipping” in Colorado has led to borrowers averaging 333 days in debt per year, or about 10.9 months.

While numerous consumer advocates have spoken out against the proposal—along with payday loan reform hawks like Sen. Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island, and even the state’s Attorney General—few have voiced support for it. In fact, in recent committee hearings on the proposal, only four people testified in favor of it:

Dennis Bassford, CEO of Moneytree;

Dennis Schaul, CEO of the payday lending trade organization known as the Consumer Financial Services Association of America;

Rep. Larry Springer, prime House sponsor of the proposal and recipient of $2,850 in campaign contributions from Moneytree executives;

Sen. Marko Liias, prime Senate sponsor of the proposal and recipient of $3,800 in campaign contributions from Moneytree executives.

Springer and Liias aren’t the only state legislators Moneytree executives backed with campaign contributions, though. In the past two years, executives with Moneytree have contributed $95,100 to Washington State Legislature races.

At least 65 percent of the money went to Republicans and the Majority Coalition Caucus. Which is expected, since Republicans have been loyal supporters of Moneytree in the past. When a similar proposal was brought to the Senate floor two years ago, only one Republican voted against it.

More telling is where the remaining money went. Of the $33,150 Moneytree gave to Democrats, $20,500 went to 11 of the 16 Democratic House sponsors of the proposal and $5,700 went to two of the four Democratic Senate sponsors.

Both the Senate and House versions of the proposal have cleared their first major hurdles by moving out of the policy committees. The bills are now up for consideration in their respective chamber’s Rules Committee. The Senate version appears to be the one most likely to move to a floor vote first, since the Republican Majority Coalition Caucus controls the Senate.

Regardless of which bill moves first, payday lenders undoubtedly want to see it happen soon.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, established by Congress in response to the Great Recession, is poised to release their initial draft of regulations for payday lenders. Although the agency’s deliberations are private, it is widely believed the rules will crack down on the number and size of loans payday lenders can make.

Those rules may well affect Moneytree and other payday lenders Washington.

In the likely chance they do, payday lenders could see their profits shrink. Unless, that is, Washington scraps its current system in favor of one carefully crafted by payday lenders looking to avoid federal regulators.

[…]

Online payday loan company forced out of Missouri | FOX2now.com

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – A South Dakota based online lender agrees to stop doing business with Missouri consumers. Attorney General Chris Koster is forcing the payday loan company out of Missouri.

As many as 6,300 Missouri consumers are victims. Each applied for online loans with one or more of the 8 operations run by a single individual.

Martin “Butch” Webb was doing business from a Native American reservation in South Dakota. The computer loans are short term with outragious fees and requires the consumer agree to wage garnishment if needed to ensure payback. Now, the lender must pay $270,000 in restitution and immediately stop collecting on outstanding loan payments.

Koster said Martin A. “Butch” Webb acted through numerous business entities operating from a Native American reservation in South Dakota, including Payday Financial, Western Sky Financial, Lakota Cash, Great Sky Finance, Red Stone Financial, Big Sky Cash, Lakota Cash, and Financial Solutions, none of which were licensed to do business in Missouri.

38.627003 -90.199404

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