The Pennsylvania House of Representatives recently approved an anti-consumer bill that would eliminate interest-rate restrictions for short-term, small-dollar loans, encouraging a new group of lenders better known as payday lenders to set up shop in our state for the first time.
Frequently marketed as short-term emergency loans, payday lending practices trap financially vulnerable borrowers into a long-term debt cycle. The loans feature interest rates that can exceed 300 percent and require a single payment of principal and interest that is typically due on a payday.
The problem comes when borrowers are unable to repay the original loan and are forced to take out another loan just to make ends meet.
In states where payday lending is legal, companies open retail outlets near senior housing complexes and other areas with high concentrations of older adults, targeting those struggling to live on fixed incomes. Federal officials say the threat of payday loans is so disruptive to the morale of the armed forces that they actually passed a law that forbids short-term loans to active-duty military personnel at rates above 36 percent.
Unfortunately here in Pennsylvania, House Bill 2191 would allow those high-interest short-term loans to be made to all consumers.
We can prevent this terrible bill from becoming law if we contact our state state senators and tell them we dont want payday lending to come into Pennsylvania and ask them to vote no on House Bill 2191.
Frances G. Scalise State College