In PA, A Payday-Lending Bill Disguised as Consumer Protection Effort

June 4, 2013
Philadelphia City Paper  
payday lending news

Although payday lending storefronts are not permitted in Pennsylvania, advocates claim that a bill currently moving through the state Senate will "end payday lending" in the state. Critics say that this is hiding the fact that SB975 is actually meant to achieve the opposite -- by loosening regulations to permit lenders to charge up to a 300 percent annual percentage rate (APR) on 14-day loans, give lenders direct access to borrowers’ bank accounts, and allow borrowers to access an essentially unlimited number of small, short-term loans. Kerry Smith of Community Legal Services says the bill will dilute laws that protect military veterans from predatory lenders. In pushing for passage of SB975, Republican Sen. Pat Browne of Lehigh County has rebranded payday products as “micro loans.” Many Pennsylvanians already use payday loans in the form of illegal online lenders or in storefronts allowed by other states like Delaware. However, they also have a safer, less expensive alternative through the Better Choice program, developed by the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association in conjunction with the state Treasury. This program offers 90-day loans at 18 percent APR, with a more flexible payment plan.
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