Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, the Kansas City Star, the Springfield News-Leader and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch have all reached the same conclusion: Sen. Mike Cunningham's payday loan 'reform' bill is a joke.
- Gov. Nixon criticized the bill, saying it "weakens protections for Missourians."
- The Kansas City Star says the bill "is a gift to the industry disguised as reform."
- The Springfield News-Leader says "it gives this predatory industry what it wants -- free rein to rake in outrageous profits."
- The St. Louis Post-Dispatch calls it "phony," warning "it's not really a reform. ...[T]he working poor are going to take it in the shorts. Again."
Cunningham's SB 694 bans loan renewals and requires lenders to give borrowers a longer repayment period. These may sound like good ideas, but they actually do nothing to rein in the predatory practices of the payday loan industry. Instead of renewing a loan, the payday lender will simply issue a new one. In exchange for these "tighter" laws, the bill removes all caps on interest rates and fees. The typical consumer will be stuck in the same debt trap of sky-high interest rates and fees that end of costing much more than the actuual loan, which is likely why the bill passed out of the Senate with nary a peep from the normally aggressive payday loan industry.
This bill "is a poorly disguised effort to benefit a rich and powerful industry that preys on the poor and powerless." Missouri legislators should reject it and focus on real reform that will rein in predatory payday lending with laws that cap the annual interest rate and limit the number of loans that can be issued per year.