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The Payday Loan Rule Changes That Only Payday Lenders Want …

Image 1425592858-shutterstock_220081786.jpg

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.

[…]

Populist messaging, auditing the Fed, payday loans – Daily Kos

By Rachel Goldfarb, originally published on Next New Deal

Click here to subscribe to Roosevelt First, our weekday morning email featuring the Daily Digest.

How Democratic Progressives Survived a Landslide (TAP)

Bob Moser says that populist, localized campaign messages, not the party’s own turnout strategy, saved a few key Democratic races in the 2014 midterm elections.

After every election, the losing side naturally tends to brood over where and how things went wrong. For Democrats this year, there’s no shortage of theories about the party’s avalanche of key losses in Senate, House, and statehouse contests. Perhaps it was wrong to sideline President Obama so thoroughly. Perhaps they shouldn’t have run away from the Affordable Care Act. Perhaps they still haven’t found the formula for turning out young and minority voters in midterms. Maybe it was just a bad map that couldn’t be overcome. Or maybe there had been, as the pundits chorused, no “coherent national message” for Democrats to run on.

You can find shards of truth in these tidbits of conventional wisdom, but it’s a gauzy, overgeneralized kind of truth. It’s more instructive to take a long look at what did work in 2014—at the candidates and campaigns that overcame the Republican drift. How did Democrats beat their odds in Arizona, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Michigan even as they fell short in Iowa, Wisconsin, Florida, and Colorado? The closer you look, the clearer the picture becomes: They did it the way Kirkpatrick did. They ran with their populist boots on.

Roosevelt Take: Moser references Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Richard Kirsch’s post-election analysis on winning populist messaging.

Follow below the fold for more.

What ‘Audit the Fed’ Really Means – and Threatens (WSJ)

Robert Litan explains that Senator Paul’s proposal calls on Government Accountability Office economists to go outside their expertise to report on the Fed’s activity and minimize its independence.

Payday Loans Are Bleeding American Workers Dry. Finally, the Obama Administration Is Cracking Down. (TNR)

Danny Vinik breaks down how payday loans harm consumers: the initial loan might not be so bad, but the repeated roll-overs have a high cost. Limiting those roll-overs is one potential regulation.

The “War on Women” is a Fiscal Nightmare: Taxpayers on the Hook for Millions as Republicans Gut Family Planning (Salon)

Katie McDonough looks at Kansas as an example of where legal fees to fight for potentially unconstitutional abortion restrictions and cuts to family planning services create massive costs.

Is Republican Concern About Middle-Class Wage Stagnation Just a Big Con? (MoJo)

Kevin Drum doesn’t think this is a sign of Republican reformers succeeding in shifting the party in a populist direction, and says that the more likely explanation is an attempt to defuse Democrats.

New on Next New Deal

The Politics of Responsibility – Not Envy

Roosevelt Institute Senior Fellow Richard Kirsch argues that voters are responding not to envy, but to the knowledge that everyone needs to take a fair share of responsibility for shared prosperity.

[…]

Money Mart suspends 50% cash-for-gift-card offer

Keith Leslie, The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, December 4, 2014 3:46PM EST
Last Updated Friday, December 5, 2014 5:49PM EST

TORONTO — Money Mart has agreed to suspend its controversial program offering cash for gift cards at half of their face value after a call from Ontario’s Consumer Services Ministry.

The government issued a release saying the payday loan company “voluntarily suspended” the gift card exchange program, which Money Mart defended earlier Friday as a “convenient” service for its customers.

Consumer Services Minister David Orazietti says his office is looking to see if there needs to be increased regulation around the re-selling of gift cards, something the opposition parties called for Thursday when they demanded the practice be stopped.

Orazietti says the government wants to ensure a high standard of consumer protection.

Ontario’s New Democrats called Money Mart a Grinch for launching the cash-for-gift-cards scheme during the pre-Christmas period, when many charities give their clients the cards.

Money Mart, which has branches across the country, described the service as “value added” in an earlier release Friday, which NDP consumer critic Jagmeet Singh said showed “how horribly misguided” the company really is.

“It’s actually preying on very vulnerable people,” he said. “It may not be actually criminal, but it’s morally criminal.”

Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives accused Money Mart of “highway robbery,” and like the NDP, demanded the Liberal government immediately stop the practice.

“It’s a sad indictment of society that we’re allowing it to happen, so the government needs to shut it down right away,” said interim PC Leader Jim Wilson.

Orazietti had warned Thursday that regulating cash-for-gift-card plans was a tough issue because people trading something they own for less than face value may not be any of the government’s business.

Money Mart did not respond to questions about how it makes money off the gift cards or if it sells them back to the original retailers.

“I don’t know what their economic model is,” said Singh. “I just know that whatever it is, it’s wrong.”

A statement issued by the New York public relations firm ICR early Friday morning did not directly address accusations that Money Mart was preying on vulnerable members of society.

“Money Mart, like other retailers, is offering a service under which it purchases merchant gift cards from customers who don’t want to purchase the products offered by the gift card merchant,” said the statement.

“The service… includes gift cards from a wide variety of merchants, including hardware and sporting goods stores, fast food and apparel outlets.”

[…]

Money Mart defends 50% cash-for-gift-card offer

Keith Leslie, The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, December 4, 2014 3:46PM EST
Last Updated Friday, December 5, 2014 11:13AM EST

TORONTO — Money Mart is defending its practice of exchanging cash for gift cards at half of their face value as a “convenient” service.

The payday loan company hired a New York public relations firm to respond after Ontario’s New Democrats called Money Mart a Grinch for launching the cash-for-gift-cards scheme.

A statement it released from the company says “Money Mart believes it is offering customers a convenient, value-added product though this service.” The payday loan company has branches across the country and says the service is available at select outlets.

Many charities give clients gift cards during the Christmas season, and Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says Money Mart is “greedily” grabbing half of the money meant for very vulnerable people.

The provincial Progressive Conservatives accused Money Mart of “highway robbery,” and like the NDP, demanded the Liberal government immediately stop the practice.

Consumer Minister David Orazietti says he’ll look at regulating cash-for-gift-card plans, but calls it a tough issue because people trading something they own for less than face value may not be any of the government’s business.

Money Mart said Friday that it would be up to the American public relations firm ICR to respond to questions about it makes money off the gift cards or if it sells them back to the original retailers.

The statement issued by ICR early Friday morning did not directly address Thursday’s accusations from politicians that Money Mart was preying on the most vulnerable members of society.

“Money Mart, like other retailers, is offering a service under which it purchases merchant gift cards from customers who don’t want to purchase the products offered by the gift card merchant,” said the statement.

“The service… includes gift cards from a wide variety of merchants, including hardware and sporting goods stores, fast food and apparel outlets.”

[…]

Money Mart blasted for 50% cash-for-gift-card fee

Keith Leslie, The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, December 4, 2014 3:46PM EST
Last Updated Friday, December 5, 2014 11:13AM EST

TORONTO — Money Mart is defending its practice of exchanging cash for gift cards at half of their face value as a “convenient” service.

The payday loan company hired a New York public relations firm to respond after Ontario’s New Democrats called Money Mart a Grinch for launching the cash-for-gift-cards scheme.

A statement it released from the company says “Money Mart believes it is offering customers a convenient, value-added product though this service.” The payday loan company has branches across the country and says the service is available at select outlets.

Many charities give clients gift cards during the Christmas season, and Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says Money Mart is “greedily” grabbing half of the money meant for very vulnerable people.

The provincial Progressive Conservatives accused Money Mart of “highway robbery,” and like the NDP, demanded the Liberal government immediately stop the practice.

Consumer Minister David Orazietti says he’ll look at regulating cash-for-gift-card plans, but calls it a tough issue because people trading something they own for less than face value may not be any of the government’s business.

Money Mart said Friday that it would be up to the American public relations firm ICR to respond to questions about it makes money off the gift cards or if it sells them back to the original retailers.

The statement issued by ICR early Friday morning did not directly address Thursday’s accusations from politicians that Money Mart was preying on the most vulnerable members of society.

“Money Mart, like other retailers, is offering a service under which it purchases merchant gift cards from customers who don’t want to purchase the products offered by the gift card merchant,” said the statement.

“The service… includes gift cards from a wide variety of merchants, including hardware and sporting goods stores, fast food and apparel outlets.”

[…]

Brown took out $500,000 loan from union

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Anthony G. Brown has taken out a $500,000 loan from the Laborers International Union in a move the rival campaign of Republican Larry Hogan called a sign of desperation.

Brown campaign manager Justin Schall said Saturday that the borrowing was simply a matter of cash flow. He said it would be paid in full by Election Day.

“We will not have any debt after the election,” Schall said.

Distortions fly in race for governor Erin Cox, Michael Dresser Surrounded by a dozen other Democrats, Anthony G. Brown summoned the news media Wednesday to once again claim that his opponent wants to cut nearly half a billion dollars in state school construction funding. Surrounded by a dozen other Democrats, Anthony G. Brown summoned the news media Wednesday to once again claim that his opponent wants to cut nearly half a billion dollars in state school construction funding. ( Erin Cox, Michael Dresser )

The loan was listed in the campaign finance report the Brown campaign filed late Friday night. It shows that Brown’s campaign committee took out the loan from the Laborers Political League Education Fund on Oct. 6 at an interest rate of 4.25 percent.

“We took out the loan to give us some flexibility in spending in the final week of the campaign as we raise over $1 million in the next 10 days,” Schall said. He explained that such expenses as TV, mail and payroll need to be paid in advance.

“This is a very common practice in campaigns because you can’t spend money before you have it,” he said.

Hogan’s campaign saw the move in a different light.

lRelated PoliticsCampaigns urge turnout as early voting starts ThursdaySee all related8

“They are up against the ropes. The momentum continues to move in Larry’s direction and they are clearly doing everything they can to eke out a victory,” said Hogan spokesman Adam Dubitsky. “It’s probably too little, too late for Anthony Brown.”

Large loans to Maryland gubernatorial candidates are not unprecedented. In 2006, Martin O’Malley took out a $500,000 loan from Washington lawyer John P. Coale in the final weeks of his campaign against Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. The victorious O’Malley repaid the loan after the election.

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The Hogan campaign is also carrying $500,000 in loans on its books, but those all came from Hogan himself during the primary campaign.

The watchdog group OpenSecrets.org lists the Laborers union as the 11th-largest donor to political spending groups. Messages left at the union’s Washington headquarters Saturday were not returned.

The disagreement over the meaning of the loan was part of a series of squabbles between the Brown and Hogan camps over which campaign was in better financial shape heading into the home stretch.

The Hogan campaign issued a news release boasting that it, along with the Maryland Republican Party, held an almost $100,000 lead over Brown in cash on hand as of the end of the filing period last Sunday. As of that day, it said it had more than $440,000 to spend.

“People who were on the sideline are now breaking our way, and I think the cash on hand reflects that,” Dubitsky said.

Schall, however, put the combined cash-on-hand figure of Brown and the Democratic Party at about $900,000. He said Hogan’s calculations don’t take into account the two campaigns’ federal accounts.

The Republicans have a little more than $40,000 in their federal account, while the Democrats have more than $480,000. Schall also counts some miscellaneous cash that the Republicans do not.

Brown’s fundraising is going well, Schall said.

“Oh my God, it’s flying in,” he said. “Absolutely, I couldn’t ask for more.”

The fundraising in the governor’s race has fueled a seemingly nonstop barrage of campaign ads. Brown reported media spending of almost $3 million since late August, while Hogan listed almost $2 million.

Brown reported combined fundraising of $4.1 million over the two months since the last reporting period. Schall said that did not include the loan but did include gifts to the federal Democratic account.

The Hogan campaign did not raise funds toward the Nov. 4 election because it is barred from doing so under the law that granted it $2.6 million in public financing. However, the state Republican Party told the Maryland State Board of Elections it has taken in almost $770,000 that it can spend on Hogan’s behalf. A federal filing Oct. 15 showed the GOP raised another $150,000 since the June primary.

michael.dresser@baltsun.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun […]

Portugal has time, cash to mull need of standby loan – official

LISBON (Reuters) – The Portuguese government does not need to rush to decide whether to request a precautionary loan because it has 16 billion euros in cash buffers that buy it time as the end of its international bailout approaches, a senior ruling party official said on Tuesday.

Marco Costa, deputy president of Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho’s Social Democrats, met Passos Coelho to discuss Lisbon’s exit from the rescue programme, which ends on May 17, but was evasive afterwards about what the timing of the decision was likely to be.

Passos Coelho said last month Lisbon might say in April whether it will require a standby arrangement.

“The government does not want to rush with any immediate decision,” Costa said. “It has time and wants to use it to keep collecting as much data as possible to take an informed decision and to guarantee the best defence of national interests.”

“According to the information given to us by the government, we know that there is a financial reserve of around 16 billion euros to guarantee that the state meets its financing requirements in the near future,” Costa said.

When the country requested its bailout in April 2011 under the previous Socialist government, its cash buffers were as low as 800 million euros, he said.

Several European officials have said they would prefer if Portugal took a standby loan as a safety net.

But, according to EU sources, Germany is in favour of a clean exit for Lisbon along the lines of Ireland, whose rescue programme ended in December. Economists agree Lisbon’s chances of going it alone have grown.

Portugal faces bond redemptions of about 10 billion euros on debt maturing in June and October, but its cash reserves are more than enough keep the country going into 2015. The next big bond redemption worth over 9 billion euros is in October 2015.

Confidence in Portugal’s ability to ride out its crisis, exit the bailout and resume economic growth increased sharply this year, sending its benchmark 10-year bond yields to their lowest levels since late 2009, below 4 percent from over 17 percent at the height of the crisis in 2012.

(Reporting By Andrei Khalip and Sergio Goncalves; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

Budget, Tax & EconomyPolitics & GovernmentPedro Passos Coelho […]

U.S. Senate Bill to Cap Interest Rates on All Consumer Loans …

Image 6.jpg


U.S. Senate Bill to Cap Interest Rates on All Consumer Loans; Targets Payday … – InsideARM


InsideARM

U.S. Senate Bill to Cap Interest Rates on All Consumer Loans; Targets Payday
InsideARM
In an effort to effectively end the high interest rates charged to consumers who take out short-term – or payday – loans, a group of U.S. Senate Democrats Tuesday introduced a bill that would cap annual interest rates at 36 percent for all consumer

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[…]

Neither Party Has Cash for Student Loan Rate Fix

Incoming college freshmen could end up paying $5,000 more for the same student loans their older siblings have if Congress doesn’t stop interest rates from doubling.

Sound familiar? The same warnings came last year. But now the presidential election is over and mandatory budget cuts are taking place, making a deal to avert a doubling of interest rates much more elusive before a July 1 deadline.

“What is definitely clear, this time around, there doesn’t seem to be as much outcry,” said Justin Draeger, president of the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. “We’re advising our members to tell students that the interest rates are going to double on new student loans, to 6.8 percent.”

That rate hike only hits students taking out new subsidized loans. Students with outstanding subsidized loans are not expected to see their loan rates increase unless they take out a new subsidized Stafford loan. Students’ non-subsidized loans are not expected to change, nor are loans taken from commercial lenders.

The difference between 3.4 percent and 6.8 percent interest rates is a $6 billion tab for taxpayers — set against a backdrop of budget negotiations that have pitted the two parties in a standoff. President Barack Obama is expected to release his budget proposal in the coming weeks, adding another perspective to the debate.

Last year, with the presidential and congressional elections looming, students got a one-year reprieve on the doubling of interest rates. That expires July 1.

Neither party’s budget proposal in Congress has money specifically set aside to keep student loans at their current rate. House Republicans’ budget would double the interest rates on newly issued subsidized loans to help balance the federal budget in a decade. Senate Democrats say they want to keep the interest rates at their current levels but the budget they passed last week does not set aside money to keep the rates low.

In any event, neither side is likely to get what it wants. And that could lead to confusion for students as they receive their college admission letters and financial aid packages.

House Republicans, led by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, have outlined a spending plan that would shift the interest rates back to their pre-2008 levels. Congress in 2007 lowered the rate to 6 percent for new loans started during the 2008 academic year, then down to 5.6 percent in 2009, down to 4.5 percent in 2010 and then to the current 3.4 percent a year later.

Some two-thirds of students are graduating with loans exceeding $25,000; one in 10 borrowers owes more than $54,000 in loans. And student loan debt now tops $1 trillion. For those students, the rates make significant differences in how much they have to pay back each month.

For some, the rates seem arbitrary and have little to do with interest rates available for other purchases such as homes or cars.

“Burdening students with 6.8 percent loans when interest rates in the economy are at historic lows makes no sense,” said Lauren Asher, president of the Institute for College Access and Success, a nonprofit organization.

Both House Education Committee Chairman John Kline of Minnesota and his Democratic counterpart, Rep. George Miller of California, prefer to keep rates at their current levels but have not outlined how they might accomplish that goal.

Rep. Karen Bass, a California Democrat, last week introduced a proposal that would permanently cap the interest rate at 3.4 percent.

Senate Democrats say their budget proposal would permanently keep the student rates low. But their budget document doesn’t explicitly cover the $6 billion annual cost. Instead, its committee report included a window for the Senate Health Education and Pension Committee to pass a student loan rate fix down the road.

But so far, the money isn’t there. And if the committee wants to keep the rates where they are, they will have to find a way to pay for them, either through cuts to programs in the budget or by adding new taxes.

“Spending is measured in numbers, not words,” said Jason Delisle, a former Republican staffer on the Senate Budget Committee and now director of the New America Foundation’s Federal Budget Project. “The Murray budget does not include funding for any changes to student loans.”

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that of the almost $113 billion in new student loans the government made this year, more than $38 billion will be lost to defaults, even after Washington collects what it can through wage garnishments.

The net cost to taxpayers after most students pay back their loans with interest is $5.7 billion. If the rate increases, Washington will be collecting more interest from new students’ loans.

But those who lobbied lawmakers a year ago said they were pessimistic before Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney both came out in support of keeping the rates low.

“We were at this point and we knew this issue was looming. But it wasn’t anything we had any real traction with,” said Tobin Van Ostern, deputy director of Campus Progress at the liberal Center for American Progress. “At this point, I didn’t think we’d prevent them from doubling.”

This time, he’s looking at the July 1 deadline with the same concern.

“Having a deadline does help. It’s much easier to deal with one specific date,” Van Ostern said. “But if Congress can’t come together … interest rates are going to double. There tends to be a tendency for inaction.”

Also Read […]

House panel hears tweaked payday-like loan bill

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A Washington state House committee heard testimony Wednesday on a bill to allow a new type of low-dollar, high-interest loan pushed by the payday lending industry.

The measure heard Wednesday in the House Business and Financial Services Committee would allow for loans of up to $1,500 that must be paid off within a year. A borrower paying off such a loan on time would pay slightly more than 100 percent of the principal in interest and fees.

Rep. Steve Kirby, the committee chairman and a bill supporter, said it would help those in a financial jam get access to cash that doesn’t have to be repaid as quickly as a payday loan. He acknowledged that the terms are not generous to borrowers.

“I am not going to sit here and tell you this is a cheap low-interest loan,” said Kirby, D-Tacoma. “It’s not.”

Kirby said it was likely the bill would pass out of his panel, though he hoped to win over more Democrats before advancing it.

The Senate passed a version of the bill last month, but the version before Kirby’s committee includes more consumer protections. Among those are reducing the length of the loans from 18 to 12 months, limiting the number of loans one person can take out to 12 per year, and barring members of the military from being eligible for them.

The interest rate and fees are unchanged from those in the Senate version, however. They include 36 percent annual interest, a monthly fee of 7.5 percent of the full loan amount that is capped at $90 dollars per month, and an upfront fee of 15 percent of the loan, up to half of which is refundable if it is repaid early.

Bill opponents say the new loans would amount to an end-run around a 2009 state law that reined in payday lending practices. Under that law, payday lenders can only lend up to $700 at a time, and the loans must be repaid within 45 days.

Opponents added that poor people should have more access to credit, but it should be reasonably priced.

“If it’s too dangerous for the military, why isn’t it too dangerous for Washington?” said Bruce Neas, an Olympia-based attorney with Columbia Legal Services.

Supporters of the measure say the loans are a better short-term deal for borrowers than payday loans, and they will allow companies with a physical presence in Washington state to compete against online lenders who they say are gaining market share.

Dennis Bassford, CEO of Moneytree Inc., a Seattle-based payday lender and check casher that is helping promote the bill, said his adversaries are predisposed to oppose his industry.

“There are certain groups that are opposed to the lending industry in general,” he said. “I think they become blinded” even when a good product is put forward.

Bassford did not appear to win over skeptics, however.

“Who needs this product? Is it an outcry from the consumer?” demanded Peter Zimmerman, a Seattle-based advocate for the poor. “I don’t think so.”

___

Jonathan Kaminsky can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jekaminsky .

[…]