Gutierrez Pushes Payday Lending Bill Legalizing 391% Interest

"What's the big deal? Can't people just vote themselves another raise?" And really, I'm disgusted that any Democrat has anything to do with this. W

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"What's the big deal? Can't people just vote themselves another raise?"

And really, I'm disgusted that any Democrat has anything to do with this. What, exactly, do Democrats stand for these days? From the Consumerist:

A House subcommittee wants to legalize payday loans with interest rates of up to 391%. Lobbyists from the payday industry bought Congress' support by showering influential members, including Chairman Luiz Gutierrez, with campaign cash. The Congressman is now playing good cop, bad cop with the payday industry, which is pretending to oppose his generous gift of a bill.

"While they may not be JP Morgan Chase or Bank of America, they're very powerful. Their influence should not be underestimated," Gutierrez, the top Democrat on the Financial Services subcommittee in charge of consumer credit issues, said in an interview this week.

Yes, it's their mind control! He's helpless against their power!

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Indeed, the payday lending industry is strenuously resisting Gutierrez's measure, which it says would devastate its business. The measure would cap the annual interest rate for a payday loan at 391 percent, ban so-called "rollovers" - where a borrower who can't afford to pay off the loan essentially renews it and pays large fees - and prevent lenders from suing borrowers or docking their wages to collect the debt.

Now, understand their strategy. By pushing for this federal law (which they're pretending not to want), the payday lending lobby is actually sidestepping potential legislation in several states where they're presently unregulated. As Brer Rabbit would say, "Please don't throw me in that briar patch!"

But consumer groups say the legislation would do little to crack down on the most egregious payday lending practices. They argue it would for the first time lend federal legitimacy to usurious loans and undermine successful efforts under way in several states to slap tougher limits on it.

"We don't believe that this is going to protect consumers. It would in fact condone the payday lending that can be extremely harmful to the people who can least afford it," said Jean Ann Fox of the Consumer Federation of America.

She testified Thursday before Gutierrez's subcommittee on behalf of seven consumer groups that are outraged about the measure. They're pushing to cap all lending interest rates at 36 percent annually.

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