News & Resources

Councilors vie for short term loan reform

Jan 10, 2011 Todd Milner

Support is continuing to mount for further reforms and regulations on the short term loan industry, restrictions that could suffocate the business model. Three years after the Virginia General Assembly passed a series of mandates on short-term, high-interest loans, councilors across the state are pushing for new bills and further regulation. Leading the fight in Virginia is Staunton City councilman Bruce Elder, according to the News Virginian. Currently on the table are regulations that would cap annual interest rates on short term and auto title loans at 36 percent, much like Montana has done. In previous years, reform efforts failed in Virginia when negotiations broke off between industry representatives, consumer advocates and the state, says the news source. Industry representatives say that such a cap on interest rates would drive short term lenders and nontraditional credit suppliers out of business. "They might as well call it the 'Eliminate Short term Loans Act,'" Jamie Fulmer, spokesman for Advance American, told the News Virginian. According to the website Rebuild, the leading consumer lobby group, the Center for Responsible Lending admitted that a 36 percent rate cap would kill the short term loan industry. The site explains that high interest rates are necessary because short term lenders only have a short period of time to recoup costs for their loans, while banks and other financial institutions have years.