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Loan sharksThere’s a common perception in the General Assembly these days that storefront consumer finance shops are not as bad a payday lenders. Indeed, this has been a common explanation offered by members of the Senate as they advanced legislation in recent weeks that will jack up the interest rates on consumer finance loans. 

If this is true, however, the difference between the two predators is just a matter of degrees, not basic characteristics. If payday lenders  are the great white shark of small loan predators, then finance companies are the tiger sharks. This truth is made clear in a new and powerful article from the muckrakers at the national news website, Pro Publica entitled “The 182 Percent Loan: How Installment Lenders Put Borrowers in a World of Hurt.” Read More

Loan sharks…that high-interest loan companies in North Carolina “haven’t had a rate increase in 30 years”  tell him/her that this statement is, in a word, baloney (and feel free to use a stronger word).

#1: Inflation for lenders is accounted for through the issuance of larger and larger loans, not higher and higher interest rates. As with home and car loans, the average finance company loan in North Carolina 30 years ago was much smaller than it is today. It is simply absurd to even imply Read More

Predatory loansMembers of the Senate Commerce Committee approved a bill today that would jack up interest rates on small loans made in North Carolina to unprecedented levels. The bottom line on the bill: Already high-cost loans will become bigger, more expensive and harder to pay off. 

The action came on a voice vote after several experts explained why the bill would be a disaster for already struggling consumers.

I know: No big surprise for the 2013 North Carolina General Assembly — a group whose motto ought to be “When corporate lobbyists say ‘jump,’ we say ‘how high?’”

Still, this morning’s hearing featured a moment of such blatant and downright stunning hypocrisy, it had to be witnessed to be believed.

Consider the following: Read More

The watchdogs at Democracy NC released the following sad but not surprising report earlier this morning:

For Release Tuesday, February 28, 2012 — Contact: Bob Hall, 919-489-1931

Amended Report from Speaker Thom Tillis Reveals Large Donations from Industry He Helped

A revised campaign disclosure report filed by House Speaker Thom Tillis earlier this month reveals that he received more than $20,000 last October from a special-interest group whose priority legislation he pushed through the House despite stiff opposition from consumer advocates and the United States military. Read More