Fallin vetoes shameful small loan legislation (Tulsa World editorial)

By World’s Editorial Writers

Gov. Mary Fallin did the right thing when she vetoed House Bill 1913, a proposal to create an expensive new form of payday lending that could charge customers up to 204 percent annual interest.

Shame on those in the Legislature who voted for the measure.

Concerned about the prospect of federal regulation of its other products, the small loan industry is pushing hard for the new form of lending, installment loans of up to $1,500 at up to 17 percent interest a month.

Such predatory lending targets the poorest members of society and perpetuates a cycle of debt and poverty.

House Bill 1913 — written by Rep. Chris Kannady, R-Oklahoma City, and Sen. James Leewright, R-Bristow, — would have put the state in the position of enforcing loans at outrageous interest rates to the most financially tenuous members of society.

“The citizens of Oklahoma already have access to a variety of high interest small loan (payday) lenders and use those lenders at record levels,” Fallin said in her veto message. “House Bill 1913 adds yet another level of high interest borrowing … without terminating or restricting access to existing payday loan products. In fact, I believe that some of the loans created by this bill would be more expensive than the current loan options.”

Some of the most influential lobbyists in Oklahoma City were working for the bill. It was opposed by a coalition of liberal and conservative forces, including the Oklahoma Policy Institute and state Rep. Kevin Calvey, R-Oklahoma City.

In the end, it was bad policy, and Fallin was right in vetoing it.

We hope Kannady, and the measure’s other backers, will leave this disgrace where it stands and not attempt to pass this shameful legislation over Fallin’s veto.


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