Ohio lawmaker vows reform of payday loans, costliest in US


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio state lawmaker is vowing to work on payday lending reform early next year after a research group found such loans are more expensive in Ohio than anywhere else in the country.

Rep. Marlene Anielski, a Walton Hills Republican, told Cleveland.com she’ll look at rates and repayment periods that are workable for lenders and fair to borrowers while also giving consumers wide access to credit.

“It’s time to close those loopholes because they impact a wide cross-section of Ohioans — rural, urban, white, black, veterans and others,” Anielski said.

About 10 percent of Ohioans take out payday loans, according to Pew Charitable Trusts. A $300 payday loan in the state costs on average $680 in interest over five months. At an annual rate in effect of 591 percent, Ohioans on average pay more than borrowers in any other state, the research group says.

A payday loan, or a cash advance, is generally $500 or less. Borrowers provide a personal check dated on their next payday for the full balance or give the lender permission to debit their bank accounts. The total includes charges often ranging from $15 to $30 per $100 borrowed. Interest-only payments, sometimes referred to as “rollovers,” are common.

Pat Crowley, a spokesman for the Ohio Consumer Lenders Association, said lenders’ ability to offer short-term loans would be hurt if interest rates are capped or lenders are required to allow longer periods for repayment of the loans at lower rates. Crowley said borrowers know about the fees.

“This is a product our customers know and understand and need,” Crowley said. “Without us, where do these people go? Cutting people off from credit is not a good thing.”

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