TDH: 8/11/11

Spelman sets sights on high interest payday loans

TDH: 8/11/11
Photo courtesy Flickr user swanksalot [CC]

The lightly-regulated world of payday lending – high interest loans to working class citizens that often prompt unending cycles of debt – is soon to see some local regulation. City Council member Bill Spelman has posted two items on council’s August 18 draft agenda that locally regulate the lassiez-faire industry.

The resolutions, posted to council’s draft agenda, tackle the issue on two fronts. One addresses land use and zoning for the businesses; as of this writing, back-up information isn’t posted, but according to a press release from Spelman’s office, it will “restrict new payday lending institutions from locating in certain neighborhoods, near major thoroughfares, or within close proximity to other payday lending institutions or residential areas.” Chris Riley and Mike Martinez are signed on as co-sponsors.

The second resolution, as described, “will require payday lenders to register with the City of Austin, collect and maintain data on its operations, cap the maximum amount of a loan, and restrict the number of times a consumer can refinance a loan.” The posting description of the item also notes a $500 penalty for each offense. Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole and Laura Morrison are names as co-sponsors on this item (so there’s five votes right there).

The 82nd Legislature recently passed payday loan regulation, over some objections the bill didn’t go far enough. In the press release, Spelman calls their action “an important first step,” adding “Now it’s up to the City Council to reach out as far as it can to help Austin residents trapped under a viciously deep and unfair pile of debt.” Spelman also notes the zoning item is modeled after similar resolutions recently adopted in several Texas cities, and that his office worked with Dallas City Council Member Jerry R. Allen, who introduced a similar measure.

“This isn’t a concern of the left or the right; it’s a human concern,” Spelman writes. “Fifteen states and the District of Colombia have implemented payday lending rate caps around 36% APR. Cities like Dallas, Richardson, and San Antonio are initiating local action against these small dollar lenders. Now it’s time for Austin to step up and help curb the burden unfair payday lending practices have on our residents and our community.”

HEY! Sign up for the Hustle's weekly e-mail newsletter, recapping news, politics and more every Friday. Don't worry, we'll never spam or sell your address. Visit here, enter your info, and click 'City Hall Hustle.'

Got something you wanna show the Hustle? Email it to wells [at] austinchronicle.com, tweet it @CityHallHustle, drop by the Hustle's Facebook or Tumblr page, or leave a comment in the section below.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More City Council
Council Recap: Melting Snow Everywhere, And Not A Drop to Drink
Council Recap: Melting Snow Everywhere, And Not A Drop to Drink
As water crisis continues, City Hall tries to expedite storm recovery

Austin Sanders, Feb. 26, 2021

Council Recap: Taking It (For) the Streets
Council Recap: Taking It (For) the Streets
New impact fee plan makes its first trip to the dais

Austin Sanders, Nov. 13, 2020

More Bill Spelman
Austin Considers Film Incentives
Austin Considers Film Incentives
Localized subsidies proposed to fight off in-state competition

Richard Whittaker, April 22, 2014

Spelman Surgery a Success
Spelman Surgery a Success
Council member returning to dais and classes next week

Richard Whittaker, Aug. 22, 2012

More by Wells Dunbar
Top 10 City Council Stories
Top 10 City Council Stories
Dais and months

Jan. 6, 2012

City Hall Hustle: The Hustle Bids Farewell ...
City Hall Hustle: The Hustle Bids Farewell ...
To the beating hearts of a great city

Dec. 30, 2011

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

The Daily Hustle, City Council, Bill Spelman, Zoning, payday loan, payday lender, payday loans, payday lenders, short term loan, austin

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle