Stephen Colbert of the Colbert
Report did a great
piece on Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez’ so-called Payday Loan Reform
Act of 2009 (H.R. 1214). Colbert notes that although Rep. Gutierrez used to
be on the side of consumers, introducing legislation in previous sessions to ban
payday loans, he recently changed his tune and has introduced a bill to codify
payday loans with rates over 700 percent interest. Colbert suggests that this
shift in policy position might have occurred because of recent campaign
contributions from the payday industry.
With friends like these as chair of the House Subcommittee on Financial Products and Consumer Credit, who needs enemies? Woodstock Institute and advocates across the country are asking Rep. Gutierrez not to call this bill and urging others to strongly oppose it. Instead, consumers and advocates should support Illinois Senator Dick Durbin’s Protecting Consumers from Unreasonable Credit Rates Act (S. 500), which would establish a nationwide interest rate limit of 36 percent.
For detailed comments on the payday industry and testimony in opposition to Gutierrez’ H.R. 1214, see the testimony of Jean Ann Fox, director of consumer protection at the Consumer Federation of America.