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The year in business: Payday loan debate heats up in Baton Rouge …

Lobbyists for the payday loan industry stormed Baton Rouge over the summer as state lawmakers deliberated tighter controls on short-term, high-interest loans.

Proponents for stricter rules argued payday loans prey on the working class and trap them in a cycle of debt that can ruin their credit.

But payday lenders said restrictions would put them out of business and stymie a much-needed source of lending for the poor.

By the end of the 2014 legislative session, the payday loan industry had beaten back several proposals to limits its activity. But the fight isn’t over.

What happened: The Legislature considered several proposals putting limits on payday loans during the 2014 session.

Initial bills, sponsored by Rep. Ted James, D – Baton Rouge and Sen. Ben Nevers, D – Bogalusa, proposed capping payday loan interest rates at 36 percent annually.

A later draft abandoned the 36 percent cap and instead proposed limiting borrowers to 10 payday loans per year. It also required payday lenders to enter transaction into a database reviewed by the Office of Financial Institutions.

The bill failed on the Senate floor in late April, despite the support of consumer advocates, including AARP Louisiana and Louisiana Together, a statewide network of religious and civic organizations.

Senators who voted against the bill were wary of placing limits on lending, which they said could damage the industry and hurt consumers.

What’s next: AARP Louisiana, Louisiana Together and other groups that led the initial charge for limits have vowed to continue their push in the 2015 session.

Payday lenders are likely to face heightened scrutiny in coming years, even if Louisiana rules do not change.

Federal regulators have already cracked down on banks that offer short-term products.

In July, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reached a $10 million settlement with payday lender ACE Cash Express over illegal debt collection tactics. The agency, which became the first to oversee payday loans in 2012, is in the process of drafting rules for the entire industry.

In the meantime, traditional lenders, including Liberty Bank & Trust in New Orleans, are experimenting with ways to offer small loans and other products tailored for low-income borrowers.

[…]

Fight to restrict payday loan businesses continues – WAFB 9 News …

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Payday loans (Source:WAFB)

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Officials: All lanes open after 100 gallons of fuel spilled during vehicle fire

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Updated: Thursday, September 11 2014 5:37 PM EDT2014-09-11 21:37:12 GMT

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Texas man arrested in Baton Rouge after picking up 15-year-old at bar

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Parents make ‘bucket list’ for unborn, terminally ill son

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Updated: Thursday, September 11 2014 2:21 PM EDT2014-09-11 18:21:38 GMT

Dan and Jenna Haley, of Philadelphia, PA, found out in April that their child, Shane, had anencephaly – a birth defect that causes the baby to not have a fully formed brain and skull. Almost all children with it die shortly after birth.

More >>

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More >> BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) –

More than 950 payday loan businesses operate throughout Louisiana. Within Baton Rouge’s city limits, it seems like one is on every corner. It’s that frequency that has many city officials worried.

“It does have a negative impact on the economic vitality of an urban community,” said Baton Rouge councilwoman Tara Wicker.

The Metro Council considered a new ordinance that would set a minimum distance between lenders and restrict business hours. The measure, proposed by Councilwomen Ronnie Edwards and Donna Collins-Lewis follows failed attempts from state lawmakers to cap interest rates. The issue remains heated.

“They’re concentrated in poor communities. They cater to customers who can’t afford the sky-high fees and interest rates,” said Jan Moller, director of the Louisiana Budget Project.

“We are the only industry that has put an extended payment plan together for ourselves,” said Danny Ford with the Louisiana Payday Loan Association in defense of the industry.

The Council was also split during Wednesday’s meeting. The ordinance failed to gain a majority vote and was deferred for two weeks.

Copyright 2014 WAFB. All rights reserved.

[…]

Supporters Seek New Angle to Limit Payday Lending

Advocates of payday lending regulation are looking to another strategy now that Louisiana lawmakers have squashed efforts to cap the loans’ annual interest rates. A bill by Sen. Ben Nevers (D-Bogalusa) would limit borrowers to 10 payday loans per year. Nevers hopes his measure will gather support as lawmakers seek a compromise on payday lending. It originally called for a 36 percent ceiling on annual interest rates, but the Senate judiciary committee rewrote the legislation to instead restrict the number of loans borrowers could take out in a year to 10.

Rather than limiting the number of loans borrowed each year, organizations seeking tougher restrictions on the loans would prefer a fee limit. They see Nevers’ bill as a second-rate solution, although they intend to support it. Andrew Muhl, director of advocacy for AARP Louisiana, said his organization will keep promoting an interest rate cap.

An industry-backed bill by Rep. Erich Ponti (R-Baton Rouge) would give borrowers an installment payment-plan option that has no late fees, but it avoids adding new restrictions on fees. Ponti plans to oppose Nevers’ bill, saying that a cap on the number of loans does not help borrowers avoid the late charges that contribute to the debt cycle. Supporters of an interest rate cap, however, say Ponti’s measure does not speak to payday loans’ real problem: high interest rates that cause people to keep taking out new loans.

[…]

BRPD: Seeking armed robbery suspect of payday loan company …

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Amber Alert ends with child found, mother dead and father in jail

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Updated: Monday, December 2 2013 2:07 PM EST2013-12-02 19:07:53 GMT

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Victim identified in Hoover Iron Bowl party shooting

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Updated: Monday, December 2 2013 8:44 AM EST2013-12-02 13:44:52 GMT

Drone delivery is expected to be ready in four or five years.More >>Drone delivery is expected to be ready in four or five years.More >> BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) –

A pay day loan business was robbed by an armed suspect at around 9:50 a.m. on Saturday morning.

According to Cpl. Don Coppola, Jr. of the Baton Rouge Police Department, a man entered the Cash Cow, located at 5540 Government Street, armed with a handgun.

The suspect demanded some money, and he took off with an unknown amount of money. He was described as a 6’1″ black male with a slim build and braids in his hair. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and a cloth to cover the lower part of his face.

Coppola reports there were no injuries.

Coincidentally, this incident is the second payday loan armed robbery in Baton Rouge within a 7-day period. A suspect with a handgun robbed the Check Into Cash at 9230 Florida Blvd. on Saturday, November 23rd.

However, there is no information available linking these incidents.

Anyone with any information about this incident is urged to contact the Armed Robbery Division at 225-389-3845 or Crime Stoppers at 225-344-7867.

Copyright 2013 WAFB. All rights reserved.

[…]

Group wants to put cap on payday loan interest rates – WAFB 9 …

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Man forced to dig up wife’s body from front yard

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Updated: Friday, November 15 2013 4:29 PM EST2013-11-15 21:29:13 GMT

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Karey indicted on lesser charge in shooting death of Lake Charles pastor

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Updated: Friday, November 15 2013 4:48 PM EST2013-11-15 21:48:25 GMT

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Motivational speaker to teens: ‘Dateable girls know how to shut up’

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Updated: Friday, November 15 2013 11:37 AM EST2013-11-15 16:37:15 GMT

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More >> BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) –

According to a new survey by the American Association of Retired Persons, Louisiana’s population favors stronger consumer protection laws when it comes to payday loans. AARP is proposing a cap on interest rates charged by payday loan companies.

“I think right now it’s an issue because you have a lot of organizations that realize the harmful effects that payday loans have on the population that they serve. We have a lot of pastors tell us that their church members that are caught in payday loan cycles. AARP says there is a lot of seniors that are caught in payday loan cycles. Even college professors tell us that there are students that are caught in payday loans, says David Greg of The Louisiana Budget Project.

“Two-thirds of people who take out payday loans wind up recycling that payday loan, which means they have to go back and take out a second loan to pay the first loan and a third loan to pay off the second loan,” says Greg.

“Eventually a person in Louisiana who takes out a one hundred dollar loan will pay $270 in fees. They are highly prevalent in Louisiana. For every McDonalds you see on the corner, there’s four payday lenders in that neighborhood. So they outnumber McDonalds four to one, so they’re here and their goal is to try and trap people into long-term cycles of debt,” he says.

AARP Director of Advocacy Andrew Muhl agrees something needs to be done. “There are several states that have banned the practice entirely. We’re not looking at that were looking at simply providing a cap on interest rates,” says Muhl.

Copyright 2013 WAFB. All rights reserved.

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