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Payday lending bill dies in Virginia Senate

Jan 19, 2011 Todd Milner

A Virginia Senate committee recently voted to kill two loophole-closing bills, which is a blow to the state's latest attempt to curb payday lending. The Senate Commerce and Labor committee voted 10-4 to reject two proposals that would have closed a loophole used by payday lenders to charge interest above 36 percent, according to WHSV-TV. The legislature passed a law to cap interest rates at 36 percent in 2008, reports the News Leader of Central Shenandoah Valley, but some lenders got around it by charging fees instead. Although the bills didn't make it through the state Senate, they are still alive in the House, where they may be more likely to pass. If they do pass through the House committees and the House floor, the bills will head back to the Senate for another vote. In a statewide poll, the television station found that 70 percent of Virginians favor the interest rate cap, but some worry that the cap would drive payday lenders out of the state because many rely on this industry only for financial emergencies. "Around Christmas time, I had an electric bill that was getting ready to get cut off, so they saved me" Joni See told the news source. "It gave me a few weeks to pay it."

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