For Immediate Release: February 12, 2007
Bill to Protect Military Personnel from Predatory Lending Dies in Committee
State Senator Andrew Rice said his measure to protect Oklahoma’s military personnel from predatory lending is dead for the session after failing to receive passage from a Senate committee on Monday.
Rice said Senate Bill 807 would have established safeguards to help consumers, military and non-military citizens from being caught in a cycle of chronic borrowing.
“I am disappointed that my bill died in committee because of a tie vote,” said Rice, D-Oklahoma City. “At the request of the Department of Defense, Congress passed similar legislation and President Bush signed it into law. My bill would have empowered our local authorities to have the statutory ability to protect our military personnel at bases like Tinker and Vance from these dangerous lending practices.”
Rice said statistics from the Center for Responsible Lending estimate that the average borrower at a payday lending business pays $1,105 to borrow just $325. In Oklahoma, the average number of storefront payday lending stores per zip code is 1.9. Yet, Tinker Air Force Base has 23 lenders in adjacent zip codes, Vance Air Force base has 8, there are 7 near Fort Sill and 5 near Altus.
Rice noted that even the Pentagon has released a 92 page report entitled: “Report on Predatory Lending Practices Directed at Members of the Armed Forces and Their Dependents”, which states that abusive predatory lending to active-duty military has reached a point of serious concern.
Sen. Tom Adelson, Co-Chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Social Services, expressed disappointment that the bill was not passed.
“I’m surprised that these important protections for our military were rejected by most of the Republican members of the committee,” said Adelson, D-Tulsa. “This is especially disappointing considering that President Bush felt our military deserved these protections and signed similar legislation into law. The state chapter of the AARP also supported this legislation because our elderly are especially vulnerable to these practices.”
Rice said it was unfortunate that Oklahoma’s military personnel would have to wait until the next legislature for action to be taken on the issue.
“These loans are meant
to be used for emergency, one-time scenarios,
but many workers find themselves taking out
new loans to pay off the old ones,”
Rice said. “Unfortunately, the protections
that I hoped to afford the consumers will
not be a reality.”