Payday-lending amendment succumbs

Published 5:47 pm Thursday, May 20, 2010

Staff Writer

=An amendment that would have placed more limitations on payday lending across the nation apparently met its end in the U.S. Senate this week.
Payday lending also is defined as a payday advance. Legislative moves have been made in Raleigh and the nation’s capital as part of a broad attempt to cut down on short-term payday loans that carry huge interest rates.
The amendment, proffered by U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., would have prevented creditors from making new payday loans to people who have had six such loans in a year, according to a news release from Hagan’s Washington, D.C., office.
Hagan’s amendment would have lengthened the time payday borrowers have to pay down their debts, the release reads.
The amendment also would have regulated the payday-lending industry by granting the U.S. Federal Reserve the right to make sure such lenders are licensed and bonded, according to the release.
Reports indicate the amendment to broader financial-reform legislation, still pending final passage by the Senate, did not curry favor with Republican lawmakers.
In a procedural move, the amendment was killed in response to GOP objections.
One of the objecting senators reportedly was Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala. A call to Shelby’s press secretary wasn’t returned Wednesday.
“I am disappointed that today, Senate Republicans objected to even considering my common sense amendment to limit payday lending,” Hagan said in a statement released Tuesday. “The industry is seeking to continue issuing loan upon loan at 400 percent interest. My amendment would have protected hardworking families from continuing to sink into a cycle of debt. I will continue working on behalf of American families who fall prey to this predatory industry.”
Asked for comment beyond what was in the news release, Jack Pfeiffer, Hagan’s press secretary, said he would let Hagan’s previous remarks stand.
He said the senator’s floor statement expressed her determination to pass the proposed amendment. Pfeiffer said partisanship got in the way of the amendment.
The bigger-picture, Wall Street reform package traveling through the Senate was the focus of President Barack Obama’s weekly radio address Saturday.
“The Wall Street reform bill in Congress represents the strongest consumer financial protections in history,” Obama said, according to a transcript available on the White House Web site. “You’ll be empowered with the clear and concise information you need to make the choices that are best for you. We’ll help stop predatory practices, and curb unscrupulous lenders, helping secure your family’s financial future.”
Calls seeking comment from Hagan’s North Carolina colleague, U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., were not successful.