West Texas Cities Eye Payday Loan Regulations
The Cities of Midland and Lubbock are taking aim at payday lenders. Both municipalities are in different stages of attempting to regulate the local businesses, each having the goal of protecting consumers when it comes to the so-called “predatory” loan process.
In Lubbock, City Councilman Todd Klein will ask the City Council to form a task force to develop a plan for reforming the payday lending business. Klein would like the present the group’s findings to state officials after work is complete. According to KCBD-TV, Klein feels as though it is “his responsibility to help people make the best choices about their finances.”
In a press release, Klein said, "I have long called for the legislature to step up and address the rates charged by this industry. I believe that there is a place in the market for such loans, but there is a need for some basic reform. I sincerely believe we are judged by the way we treat the least among us, and I cannot stand by and watch such practices without trying to do something."
The Lubbock City Council will take up the issue on April 24.
In Midland, the city council is discussing a proposed ordinance that would add local regulation to the industry. According to the Midland Reporter-Telegram, the ordinance was discussed but not voted on during an April 22 meeting. The ordinance would include restrictions that limit loans to 20 percent of the borrower’s monthly income and repayment to no more than four installments.
Twenty Texas cities have already passed some type local ordinance regulating payday lenders. It has not been without a cost though for some. Five cities are currently being sued by payday loan businesses.
In March, State Representatives Tom Craddick and Mike Villarreal wrote an op-ed to the Midland Reporter-Telegram urging west Texas cities to pass their own ordinances in order to “protect their residents from predatory payday and auto title loans.”
While Lubbock and Midland look to begin the process of regulating payday loans this week, other Texas cities including Amarillo could begin the process of regulating the industry later this year, according to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.
Texas cities will have to weigh the assumed responsibility in protecting citizens’ financial interests with the threat of litigation from a well-funded industry fighting for local survival.
Chad Hasty is the host of the Chad Hasty Show on KFYO-AM Lubbock. Follow Chad on Twitter @ChadyHastyRadio