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Conlin testifies for her bill to publish annual study of payday lenders

A lawmaker whose district represents a portion of Livingston County testified Friday in the House Committee on Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) in support of House Bill 4343.

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Jennifer Conlin (D-Ann Arbor), requires DIFS to submit an annual report on payday lending to the state House and Senate committees on banking and financial services and post it on the department’s website. If signed into law, the bill would require the first report to be filed by March 31, 2024, and on March 31 of each year thereafter through March 31, 2030.

The locations of payday lenders and exactly how many of their customers are repeat borrowers would be listed in the report.

“Victims of predatory payday lenders are often members of low-income, disadvantaged communities,” Conlin said. “This annual study will help ensure that we are vigilant in the Legislature about the abuses payday lenders perpetrate on vulnerable populations — and hold them accountable.”

Payday lenders defend their short-term loans as providing access to cash for people experiencing unexpected or emergency costs, such as a needed vehicle repair. They say the loans allow borrowers to cover expenses until their next pay check.

But according to a release from Conlin’s office, predatory lenders “impose unfair or abusive loan terms on borrowers, including high interest rates and narrow time windows for repayment. They often use coercive tactics and target borrowers with credit problems or who have recently lost their jobs.”

“Rising prices have provided payday lenders with only greater opportunities to exploit customers, leading to record-breaking profits in 2020,” continued the release.

Many states already prohibit high-cost payday lending.

Conlin’s 48th House District includes Genoa and Hamburg townships, the Village of Pinckney and the southeast corner of Putnam Twp. in Livingston County.

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