In a closely divided 8 to 6 vote, the Senate Banking and Insurance moved a bill, SB 975, legalizing 300% APR loans to the Senate floor despite the opposition of veterans, seniors, and faith groups and many others present to oppose the bill.
Today's hasty vote comes on the heels of the 48 page bill being filed just last Friday. The committee noted many unanswered questions in the ambiguous bill drafting, in addition to the concerns that this will open Pennsylvania's borders to 1,000 payday storefronts.
Both Pew Charitable Trust and the U.S. Department of Defense have noted that the state's laws are among the strongest in the country to keep out predatory payday loans. A 2010 Pennsylvania Supreme Court case held that loans made in violation of existing law are illegal, even when made on-line. SB 975 rolls back the state's longstanding protections against predatory payday loans.
It is for these reasons, in addition to the harm caused by the payday loans that will be ushered in under SB 975 --such as increased likelihood of bankruptcy and payday lenders gaining direct access to borrowers' bank accounts-- that the bill faces opposition from Pennsylvanians around the state. In his closing statements at the hearing, Democratic Chairman Stack made a passionate plea for the Committee to do what veterans and others have asked: to reject this bill and keep our existing, strong consumer protections in place.
Please thank those Senators who stood with Pennsylvanians to oppose this bill: Senators Michael Stack, Lisa Boscola, Larry Farnese, Anthony Williams, Patricia Vance, and John Rafferty.
We are disappointed in those who voted to support the payday lenders by voting yes: Senators Pat Browne, Don White, Mike Brubaker, Kim Ward, Jake Corman, John Eichelberger, Joseph Scarnati, and Jim Brewster.
Click here to take action now to ask your Senator to oppose SB 975.