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High interest payday loans could be coming to North Carolina
McHenry bill would allow rates to skyrocket
Published Wednesday, November 22, 2017 7:29 pm
by Stephanie Carson, N.C. News Service

RALEIGH – North Carolina's long history of prohibiting predatory lending in the state could come to an end with a bill introduced by one of the state’s own congressmen.

The “Protecting Consumers’ Access to Credit Act,” introduced by U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry, would authorize non-banking entities to partner with a national bank and charge up to triple-digit rates to borrowers.

“This bill allows lenders to change much higher – 100, 200, 300 percent interest – rate loans, using a rent-a-bank scheme," said Kelly Tornow, director of North Carolina policy at the Center for Responsible Lending.

North Carolina has a cap of 30 percent on loans to consumers, which is supported by a variety of citizens groups, including veterans, AARP and other bipartisan organizations. McHenry and other supporters say the legislation is needed to make loans available to those who wouldn't qualify with a traditional lending institution.

North Carolina and Georgia are currently the only southern states to cap payday lending. Neighboring Tennessee sees rates as high as 460 percent, which Tornow said creates a debt trap for those who opt for a high-interest loan.

“This affects families all across North Carolina. It's not one segment of the population," she said. "Just because you might not take out a payday loan, your brother who might be struggling to pay his rent that month [might].”

With 400 percent interest, a $300 loan would accrue about $45 in interest, but if the consumer can’t pay it back in the negotiated time, there are often rollover fees.


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