Coalition touts bills to improve consumer lending in Indiana

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Hoosiers for Responsible Lending on Wednesday hosted a press conference lauding two pieces of legislation at the Statehouse that they said would significantly improve consumer lending policy in Indiana.

Senate Bill 200, authored by Sen. Spencer Deery, R-Lafayette, institutes a Nonprofit Loan Center for Indiana state employees, providing a payday loan alternative for Hoosier civil servants. The bill passed the Senate Insurance Committee 8-0 and heads to the full Senate for a vote as soon as Tuesday.

“I think we can all agree that the community loan center is the best option for Hoosiers, so I’m thrilled that this is moving and getting the attention that it needs,” Deery said.

Hoosiers for Responsible Lending also supports House Bill 1171, authored by Rep. Carey Hamilton, D-Indianapolis. It caps payday loans at a 36% annual percentage rate, like the Military Lending Act. HB 1171 awaits a hearing in the House Committee on Financial Institutions.

“Consumers are in need of friendly policy now more than ever,” said Andrew Bradley, policy director for Prosperity Indiana, a Hoosiers for Responsible Lending Coalition member. “The global affordability crisis has placed Hoosiers in a dire financial position and House Bill 1171 would prevent payday lenders from taking unnecessary advantage of consumers.”

Capping interest rates on Indiana “payday” loans at 36% APR could have saved Hoosier borrowers more than $26 million in 2021, according to an analysis released by the Indiana Community Action Poverty Institute. Loans during that period averaged just $386 but payday lenders collected over $29 million in finance charges.

Hamilton said a 349% interest rate on a 14-day loan is simply unreasonable and it’s happening every day in Indiana.

“Predatory lenders have had a stranglehold on Indiana—this lending practice is an economic drain on Hoosiers and represents poor fiscal responsibility and it’s a good idea to extend the 36% cap to all Hoosiers,” she said.

Deborah Fisher, a research associate for Indiana Community Action Poverty Institute and a consumer affected by current Indiana consumer lending policy, said “my payday loan seemed to only add to my financial difficulties. It became an extra added bill. Each time I managed to pay it off, I had to wait a short period of time, and renew it because I needed the money to make ends meet.”

The Indiana Capital Chronicle is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that covers state government, policy and elections.

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