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Full Virginia House and Senate to Soon Consider Reigning In Car Title and Payday Lenders

Taber Andrew Bain / Creative Commons

Virginia may be on the verge of losing car-title lenders and payday lenders. But, several other low-interest lending companies may be moving in to take their place — if lawmakers take action to prevent high-interest lending.

The lobbyist for TitleMax warns that the car-title lending industry will evaporate. And, the lobbyist for Check-into-Cash warns the payday lender will close all their locations. That’s what they say is at stake if the General Assembly passes the Fairness in Lending Act, which limits interest rates to 36%.

Reggie Jones is a lobbyist for the payday lender Advance America, and he urges caution about the businesses who support the legislation because they want to do business in Virginia. 

“What they’re looking at is bringing in people who want a different program that you don’t know what it is," Jones says. "I don’t think any of you really appreciate the program that those who want to come into the state want to offer.”

James Gutierrez is president of Aura Loans, one of the businesses that wants to come to Virginia and start making loans under the Fairness in Lending Act. 

“I grew up in a low-income community in California, and I founded two companies like Aura that are focused on providing small loans to help people build their credit score," he says. "A credit score changes the lives of someone. It helps them build wealth. It helps them buy a home one day and build equity. So it’s so crucial that we help low-income people do that.”

Now, versions of the bill have now passed committees in both the House and Senate, which means that the effort will be on the House floor and the Senate floor in the next few days.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.
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