Tuesday, September 18, 2012

San Antonio Poised to Curb Abuses by Payday Loan Industry

San Antonio City Council Member
Diego Bernal

This Thursday, San Antonio, Texas' city council is scheduled to vote on ordinances which will regulate payday and auto-title lenders in the Alamo City. They will vote on essentially the same ordinances adopted by Dallas and Austin city councils last year.

It is particularly heartening that SA's council has support by the editorial board of the San Antonio Express...

"The San Antonio City Council will vote on Sept. 20 on an ordinance to regulate payday and auto-title businesses locally. The ordinance merits unanimous support."

"Under the proposed ordinance which would go into effect on Jan. 1, payday loans would be limited to 20 percent of a borrower's gross monthly income and automobile title loans would be limited to 3 percent of a borrower's income or 70 percent of the vehicle's value."

"Similar regulatory action is warranted at the state level to protect consumers across the state. Texas is among 28 states with the least regulation when it comes to these types of business."

"It will be an uphill battle against lobbyists with deep pockets in Austin to get adequate state regulation, but it is a battle that needs to be waged."

"City Councilman Diego Bernal, who has led the local effort on payday and title loan business regulation, plans to pursue state reforms on the issue. He is optimistic the support the San Antonio measure has received will help convince state lawmakers to stop delaying action on the issue.
Predatory lending practices prey on those who can least afford the exorbitant fees and interest rates associated with such loans. There are more than 3,000 payday and auto title business in Texas; about 250 are located in San Antonio."

Particularly impressive is the stance of the editorial board on the prospects of a suit against the city by the short term lending industry (as they have Dallas and Austin)...

"The San Antonio city ordinance, like those passed in other urban Texas municipalities, will likely be met with litigation. It is a legal battle that needs to be fought."

Read the rest of the editorial here.

Congratulations to the San Antonio Express and to city council member Diego Bernal for having the courage to lead this fight against the exploitation of Texas citizens! We'll all be watching...

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