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home : local news : local news May 22, 2017

5/18/2017 9:07:00 AM
Local legislator Rep. Ryan Smith urged to support Ohio Payday Loan Reform Bill; will help decide its fate

State Rep. Ryan Smith - whose House District 93 includes Lawrence, Gallia, Jackson and part of Vinton counties - will play an important role in efforts to reform the payday lending industry in Ohio, where payday loan rates are the highest in the country, according to The Ohio Coalition of Faith Leaders for Lending Reform.

Rep. Smith is on the Ohio House Government Accountability & Oversight Committee.  The committee will decide if House Bill 123, a bi-partisan measure that calls for statewide reforms to payday lending, should move forward.

As a key decision-maker on this issue, Rep. Smith and the other committee members are being urged by a growing statewide grassroots coalition to support and advance the payday reform bill expeditiously.

Ohio has the highest payday loan rates in the nation, with typical annual percentage rates (APRs) of 591 percent. A $300 loan over five months typically costs $680 in fees alone, which is far higher than neighboring states. One in 10 Ohio adults has taken out a payday loan, among them urban and rural residents, veterans, single mothers and others.  Many of the working people who take out such loans live paycheck to paycheck, further underscoring the need for reform.

Holzer Medical Center

There are more than 650 payday loan storefronts in Ohio.

In 2008, Ohio voted to cap payday loan rates at 28 percent, with about 59 percent of residents in Lawrence, Gallia, Jackson and Vinton counties in favor of the measure. But the payday loan industry has exploited a loophole in the law, allowing these lenders to charge exceedingly high prices.

"Passing this legislation would benefit people in every community in Ohio," said Pastor Carl Ruby, Director of The Ohio Coalition of Faith Leaders for Lending Reform. "We call upon our legislators to do the right thing and support much-needed reforms in payday lending in Ohio. This is not a partisan issue - this is an issue of fairness for Ohioans." Ruby's organization is a member of the coalition, Ohioans for Payday Loan Reform, which includes community, faith, business, veteran groups and consumer groups throughout the state.

The coalition encourages residents of Ohio House District 93 to contact Rep. Smith at 614-466-1366 about the matter.

"The new reform bill will restore safeguards the people of Ohio want, need, and deserve," Ruby added.

A recent poll of Ohio voters found that 80 percent support the proposed reforms. The bill does not seek to eliminate payday loans in Ohio, but would rein in the high costs that characterize these products. The bill caps the interest rate at 28 percent and allows a $20 monthly fee.

To learn more about this reform effort, please contact Betsy O'Connell, boconnell@lesiccamper.com, or Nancy Lesic, nlesic@lesiccamper.com.





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