Arizona voters banned payday lenders in 2008, but some predatory lenders have been able to dodge the law and persist in their harmful credit practices, writes Rep. Debbie McCune Davis, a Democrat who represents Legislative District 30. Consumers in the state continue to be targeted by auto title lenders that charge triple-digit annual interest and claim to offer a quick financial fix that can actually evolve into a long-term financial problem.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently announced that it ordered Cash America International to refund $14 million nationwide and pay a $5 million fine for overcharging military members and for robo-signing court documents. According to the regulator, Cash America violated the Military Lending Act by charging service members and their families an annual interest rate above the limit of 36 percent on some loans. Davis has requested that the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) conduct an examination of Cash America International and has called on her colleagues to support efforts to enforce the Military Lending Act during the 2014 legislative session. She also is working on legislation that would promote consumer protections and require the DFI to expand examinations to licensed lenders. Additionally, Davis has asked U.S. Rep. David Schweikert, who is featured on the Consumers for Choice website, to disassociate from the organization.