I was excited to see that both our House of Delegates and State Senate have passed much-needed predatory lending reform bills (HB789 & SB421), both on a bipartisan basis. For too long, the legislature turned a blind eye while struggling Virginia families were being saddled with interest rates in excess of 200%. The title loan stores lining Columbia Pike can take the borrowers’ car titles as collateral, and then they can repossess them if borrowers fall behind on their loan payments. During the legislative debate, I saw that 1 in 8 borrowers has their car repossessed this way every year. Strikingly, payday lenders have taken advantage of our weak state laws to charge Virginia residents triple what they charge in other states. Borrowing $500 for 4 months from payday lenders costs $95 in Colorado, $160 in Ohio, and $480 in Virginia.
I’m glad that the reform bills would bring Virginia in line with these other states where credit is widely available but on more reasonable terms. I’m appreciative that my own representatives, Sen. Barbara Favola and Del. Patrick Hope, co-sponsored this important legislation.
Other members representing Arlington--Delegates Rip Sullivan, Alfonso Lopez, and Mark Levine, and Senators Adam Ebbin and Janet Howell--all deserve credit for voting for reform as well. Gov.Ralph Northam and Attorney General Mark Herring also championed this bill that is projected to save Virginia families more than $100 million annually. It’s refreshing to see government side with us rather than the high-cost lenders who have had their way for too long.