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Progressive Texas Legislators Fight Back After Predatory Lenders Accuse Them For Lack of Reform

by: Chaille Jolink

Tue Mar 25, 2014 at 00:03 PM CDT

In case you missed it last week, Senator Rodney Ellis, Representative Craig Eiland, and Representative Mike Villareal published an op-ed piece in the Galveston Daily News responding to an opinion editorial guest piece that was written by the field organizer for the Consumer Service Alliance of Texas, a group that represents pay day lenders.

In the original op-ed piece a Mr. Burklund accuses Senator Ellis, and Representatives Eiland and Villareal for killing the a pay day reform bill that would have actually done very little to help Texas consumers and families. Senator Ellis, and Representatives Eliand and Villareal set the record straight here, on Senator Ellis's website, by publishing their response op-ed piece in its entirety.

Essentially the bill that Mr. Burklund was referring to was a bill that had some modest reforms in it, but would have also preempted any other city mandates in the state of Texas, that might have had stronger regulations on pay day lenders.

Sure enough, seven Texas cities already had city ordinances regulating these predatory lenders of some kind, and the bill that Mr. Burklund was accusing these senior legislators of killing had significantly less tighter controls on the businesses that Mr. Burklund represents.

Read more about pay day loan reforms in the Texas Legislature below the jump.

The op-ed piece continues to explain that since the legislature didn't pass the pay day reform bill that the industry supported, eight more Texas cities have passed their own city ordinances regulating pay day lenders within their own communities. That's about 6.7 million Texans who are protected by a city ordinance, and not a weaker bill that could have passed in the Texas Legislature if the pay day lenders had their way.

In 2012 alone, the pay day loan industry collected $1.25 billion in fees from working Texas families for loans at 500 percent interest and higher. That should be illegal. This hurts Texas families and it hurts Texas businesses.

Check out the rest of the op-ed here:

"The fact of the matter is, while 15 states and D.C. currently either prohibit predatory lending or have regulations restrictive enough that the industry chooses not to operate in those states, there are nine states that have sensible limitations on fee rates, loan usage, and terms, and the predatory lending industry still manages to exist.

We have always maintained that we do not want the small loan business to go out of business in Texas. We understand there is a need for it in our communities. What we want is for the businesses providing the loans to operate in a responsible, fair, and honest way. The people of Texas would be better served if the industry supported fair lending practices rather than fighting efforts to better the way they conduct their predatory business by penning misleading op-eds and attempting to change easily verifiable facts."

Texas needs to pass a statewide reform bill, but one that regulates the industry practices itself, not simply dilute local control with over broad legislative policy.  

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Do not republish without express written permission.

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