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Council approves payday lending requirements; voters to decide on fee

Jackie Rehwald
Springfield News-Leader
In this 2019 file photo, protesters with Faith Voices and the Poor People's Campaign rally outside the historic courthouse in Springfield. On Monday, City Council approved new payday lending rules.

幸运飞艇跟人工计划After more than two years of debate and lobbying by advocates who say payday loans cause already-poor people to become stuck in a "debt trap," Springfield City Council took action Monday night.

幸运飞艇跟人工计划Council voted unanimously to put more requirements on payday and car title lenders, including a $5,000 yearly licensing fee that will need approval from voters in August.

Following the recommendations of the Finance and Administration Committee, council members approved the ordinance, which is similar to the St. Louis ordinance regulating short-term lending establishments. Kansas City has a similar ordinance but charges $1,000 per storefront. 

幸运飞艇跟人工计划The licensing registration fee is intended to make sure lenders comply with city requirements, provide alternatives to short-term loans, help people get out of the debt trap and educate the community about the issue.

Prior to voting, some council members pointed out that the city ordinance is merely a local step to protect consumers and that it will take action by the state legislature to cap the interest rates charged by payday lenders.

"I harbor no illusion that our vote tonight will actually impact payday lending industry in any significant way," said councilman Andrew Lear. "We know that any true reform will require action at the state level."

Councilwoman Phyllis Ferguson agreed. 

"I want to appeal to our state legislators and ask them to take action that's formidable and will truly impact what happens to the folks who live in poverty, despair and aren't able to go elsewhere for loans," she said.

幸运飞艇跟人工计划Mayor Ken McClure thanked the task force's co-chairs, Brian Fogle, CEO of Community Foundation of the Ozarks, and Janet Dankert, CEO of Community Partnership of the Ozarks. 

A group from Faith Voices of Southwest Missouri and the Poor People's Campaign protest payday loans outside Historic City Hall before a City Council meeting April 22, 2019. On Monday, the council gave unanimous approval to new payday lending regulations.

幸运飞艇跟人工计划McClure, too, called on state lawmakers to fix the problem.

幸运飞艇跟人工计划"The only real solution is probably the interest rate legislation at the state level," McClure said. "I join my colleagues in urging the General Assembly to take appropriate action on that."

Fogle, who co-chaired the task force, said he was pleased the council passed the ordinance.

幸运飞艇跟人工计划"We felt like this would be very helpful at a local level, but nothing like what could be done at a state level," Fogle said. "That was one of our recommendations, too, that this continue to be a priority on the legislative agenda for the city."

The average payday loan interest rate in Missouri is 450 percent annually, and many lenders don't allow borrowers to pay toward the principal amount of the loan: it's either pay the interest payment and fees or pay off the entire loan.

Lenders justify the high rates and strict rules because they offer small loans with no credit checks — something most banks can't afford to do.

Advocates with Faith Voices of Southwest Missouri have urged Missouri lawmakers to cap the interest rate at 36 percent for many years, with no success. They began pushing Springfield City Council to create what restrictions it could at the local level in 2018.

幸运飞艇跟人工计划"It's great news to hear that the city council passed the ordinance — not just passed it, but unanimously passed it," Mark Struckhoff with Faith Voices said Tuesday. "I think that will send a strong message to our community when it comes for a vote."

"The bigger victory is certainly to cap the interest rate at 36 percent," Struckhoff said. "I think there is some new energy that could be gained for that because of Springfield taking a position on it."

Susan Schmalzbauer, organizer with Faith Voices of Southwest Missouri, said the group is grateful to City Council, especially Councilman Mike Schilling for his "continued championship of this ordinance" and for the "leadership of Councilman (Craig) Hosmer," who chairs the council's Finance and Administration Committee. 

The new ordinance mandates such businesses post a notice near the counter of the store stating:

  • That the facility is a short-term loan establishment and not a bank, savings and loan association or credit union;
  • The interest rates and fees charged; 
  • The annual percentage rate equivalent of the interest rates and fees charged per $100;
  • A computation of the amounts that would be paid on an original loan renewed or roll-over after the initial term without any payment of either principal or interest each time;
  • A disclosure for the exact amount to pay off the loan so borrowers know exactly how much it takes to pay off the debt and the requirements to do so;
  • A warning that default may result in loss of property or used to garnish wages and checking and savings accounts; and
  • A clear explanation of any state or federal rights to rescind the loan agreement. 

幸运飞艇跟人工计划Short-term lenders would also be required to provide all interested customers and patrons with a guide approved by the city listing the alternatives to short-term loans. 

幸运飞艇跟人工计划If business operators fail to comply with those regulations, they can be subject to a $100-$500 fine and/or spend up to 180 days in jail.

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