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Ohio Legislation

UAPA Supports Payday Lending Bill

Recently the executive committee of UAPA voted to support the passage of Ohio House Bill 333. It limits the annual interest rate charged on a typical two-week loan (from payday lenders such as Check Into Cash and Always Payday) from the current 391 percent (about $15 per $100 borrowed) to 36 percent. They are called payday loans because that is the interval between paychecks at most employers.

Statewide, the number of payday lendin offices rose nearly 15-fold between 1996 and 2006 to 1,562. That is more than the combined total of restaurants operated by the McDonalds, Burger King, and Wendy's chains in Ohio. The industry has fought hard against a lower interest-rate cap, arguing it would put them all out of business. Industry officials say they offer a valuable service to those who can't get a loan anywhere else and are a better option than late fees or bounced checks.

Opponents say the two-week loans trap too many people in a cycle of debt, where they need a new loan to pay off the previous one.

Steve Stivers, former bank lobbyist, appointed State Senator and candidate for U.S. Representative, 15th District, weighs in with a typical Republican response by saying setting caps that low would be an overreaction to the issue and shut off credit to those who need it. "Most of these people are in the payday lending marketplace because their credit is not very good," he said. "Those people are not going to get the best interest rate." He has also said, "You can't take away people's ability to screw up their own financial situation by taking away the legal loan products, because they'll move to the illegal loans."

Ohio Attorney General Mark Dann is conducting a public hearing on the issue on Wednesday, April 9, 4:00 p.m., at Good Shepard Baptist Chrch, 1555 E. Hudson. For more information, contact Cathy Johnston at 280-1984 or cathyjohnston@cohhio.org.

The Ohio Coalition for Responsible Lending has set up a web site chock full of great information.

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