Letter: No payday lending
Arizona consumers are safe for another year from expanded predatory lending now that the legislature adjourned without enacting SB 1316, the Flexible Credit Loan bill. The bill, backed by out-of-state payday and car title lenders, made it to a final floor vote in the Senate but failed to line up enough votes to authorize 180 percent annual interest credit.
We congratulate the bipartisan opposition to yet another usurious lending scheme that would trap vulnerable consumers in unending debt. We are especially grateful for Sen. Kimberly Yee’s courageous no vote in the Senate Finance Committee hearing and Rep. Debbie McCune-Davis’ leadership in the House floor debate. A majority of senators from both sides of the aisle resisted SB 1316.
A very broad coalition of consumer, community, veterans and faith groups opposing SB 1316 were outspent by the deep-pocketed lenders who flew executives to Phoenix, hired well-connected lobbying firms and sent slick mailers and robo-calls to voters in key legislative districts. The payday lending industry has proven once again that it will spare no expense in its annual quest to convince legislators to circumvent the will of Arizona voters.
Despite the 60 percent No Vote on Proposition 200 in 2008, payday lenders remain intent on spending large sums to win legal authorization to trap Arizonans in debt. Prop. 200 backers spent almost $15 million to lose that vote. We have no idea how much the industry spent on lobbyists and dark money contributions this year.
Arizonans made it very clear when they voted “no” on the payday lender-backed ballot initiative that they did not want these predatory lending schemes to be legal. Fortunately, our state legislators agreed and were willing to stand with Arizonans on this issue.
Instead of throwing good money after bad, perhaps they will get the message this time: Arizona is not open for usury. No means no.
Kelly Griffith, Executive Director - Center for Economic Integrity, Tucson
Cynthia Zwick, Executive Director - Arizona Community Action Association, Phoenix