Thursday, April 14, 2011

Update from Texas House on Payday Lending legislation

Rev. Gerald Britt, CitySquare's VP of Public Policy and Community Program Development, has been working hard for changes in the payday lending laws in Texas and in Dallas. 

One outcome of his vision and hard work was a visit to CitySquare last Friday by Elizabeth Warren, Assistant to the President and Special Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury. 

Another result is documented in the press release below that was issued by Texas state Rep. Rafael Anchia and Rep. Marc Veasey on Friday.  The progress is not all that we hoped, but a step in the right direction.  And, the effort is not complete, as the legislation must come to the full House for a vote and work must be done on the Senate side to get a new law. It is important that we express our concerns to our representatives and to our Senators here in Texas about this important issue. 

For Immediate Release:
April 8, 2011

Payday Lending Bills Pass Out of Committee

Bills do not address all concerns with payday lenders, but represent improvement from current law.

AUSTIN -- On Thursday, April 7th, the House Committee on Pensions, Investments, and Financial Services unanimously approved House Bills 2592, 2593, and 2594, by Rep. Vicki Truitt (R-Southlake). These bills create a system of regulations for payday lenders, who currently are subject to very little state oversight.

At the outset of the legislative session, State Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas) and State Rep. Marc Veasey (D-Fort Worth), who serve on the committee, had hoped for stronger regulation. Both representatives authored or co-authored bills that would have provided for more restrictions on payday lenders. Those bills would have restricted the lenders' ability to roll over past due balances into new loans, charge exorbitant interest rates, and saddle consumers with unexpected debt.

“This bill, although not perfect, brings significant new regulation to an industry that, until now, has been free to operate in Texas with very little oversight,” Rep. Anchia said. He added, "Significantly, the Office of the Consumer Credit Commissioner now has the power to move against the bad actors in the industry on behalf of consumers who look to the state for much-needed protection from predatory lenders."

Despite their preference for stronger legislation, Rep. Anchia and Rep.Veasey voted in favor of the payday lending bills. They feel that the legislation provides as much protection and regulation as possible while ensuring that the bills can obtain the support of the majority of the Legislature. Both representatives believe that the need for regulation of payday lending is too pressing to delay by waiting for more perfect legislation.

“Although I wish that we could pass a bill that would do more to protect consumers, I support this legislation because I believe it is the most we can accomplish this session, and it represents a significant improvement over current law,” Rep. Veasey said.

State Representative Rafael Anchia is currently serving his fourth term in the Texas House. He is the vice-chair of the Pensions, Investments, and Financial Services Committee, and also serves on the Land and Resource Management Committee. Residents of District 103 are encouraged to contact Rep. Anchia at (512) 463-0746.

State Representative Marc Veasey is serving his fourth term in the Texas House. He is a member of the Elections; Pensions, Investments and Financial Services; and Redistricting Committees. Residents of District 95 are encouraged to contact Rep. Veasey at (512) 463-0716.


Arlene Kasselman said...

Larry, I know you are way busy, but I read a blog post, not very long, from a friend this morning and I felt the need to share it with you. I know you live this every day and have for years. But I am always inspired when people like me, who are not living your life, have moments of transformation because someone real presents us with a crisis.

Alan said...

Larry: I heard Gerald on KERA this morning--as always, he did a super job.

Alan Bean

Larry James said...

Alan, Gerald is a winner for sure! We are so fortunate to have him at CitySquare. Thanks for the feedback. BTW--his comments were made yesterday before the Dallas City Council.

Larry James said...

Arlene, what a moving story. This is exactly what the poor in the US face on a daily basis, many not doing as well as this lady.

Anonymous said...

We're putting together some plans to pilot an alternative that leverages communities like CityWalk@Akard to house and support a stable, break-even alternative to payday lending... stay tuned.

Akilah Wallace said...

How do I get a copy of this press release? I'd like to share it with members & constituents of Urban Financial Services Coalition (