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Predatory Lending Allies in Congress Introduce Resolution to Halt Important Payday Lending Rule

Friday, December 1, 2017
Yana Miles

"The line in the sand is clear, you’re either siding with the payday lenders or you’re siding with consumers."

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), along with Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), Tom Graves (R-Ga.), Henry Cuellar (D-Texas), Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), and Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), introduced a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution that would repeal the new payday and car title lending rule finalized by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Consumer Bureau) in October. The announcement to roll back this important consumer protection comes off the heels of the payday lenders’ latest assault to take over the Consumer Agency.

"The line in the sand is clear—you’re either siding with the payday lenders or you’re siding with consumers. Unfortunately, for these members who introduce this CRA resolution, their allegiance is to the payday lenders," said Yana Miles, Senior Legislative Counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending. "Payday lenders put cash-strapped Americans in a crippling cycle of 300%-interest loan debt. Their abusive business model relies heavily on a borrower’s inability to repay their loans, which leads to a cascade of financial consequences such as bank penalty fees, delinquency on other bills, or it can even force a borrow into bankruptcy. Members of Congress should reject the effort to roll back this important consumer protection and instead pass a federal 36% interest rate cap for these kinds of loans."

CRA is a legislative tool that allows lawmakers to undo federal regulation with a simple majority vote in both the House and Senate. If invoked, CRA prohibits a federal agency—like the Consumer Bureau—from rolling out regulations similar to those it reversed.

As written, the payday lending rule will result in fewer families falling into financial ruin. At the heart of the rule is the common sense principle based on a borrower’s income and expenses—which means that lenders will be required to determine whether a loan is affordable to the borrower before making it. An affordable loan is one a borrower can reasonably be expected to pay back without re-borrowing or going without the basic necessities of life – like food or rent money.

Background

  • At the heart of the payday lending rule is the common sense principle that lenders check a borrower’s ability to repay before lending money. In a recent poll of likely voters, more than 70% of Republicans, Independents, and Democrats support this idea. This requirement ensures that loans are affordable, meaning a borrower can repay without reborrowing and without defaulting on other expenses.
  • Currently, the debt trap is the cornerstone of the payday lending business model – three quarters of all payday loan fees are from borrowers with more than ten loans in the course of a year. The ability-to-pay requirement is a straightforward way to prevent this vicious cycle of debt and support lenders with legitimate business models.
  • Payday lenders have anticipated possible crackdowns on their abusive practices and begun morphing their business plans toward other schemes in order to evade the law, such as offering predatory long-term loans. Despite important progress with today’s announcement, the struggle for financial fairness will continue.

For more information, or to arrange an interview with a CRL spokesperson on this issue, please contact ricardo.quinto@responsiblelending.org.