News 12 at 11 o'clock, January 28, 2009
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C.---A bill that would regulate the payday lending industry tighter has won initial approval from a House panel.
"The bill does several things to protect consumers," said House Speaker Rep. Bobby Harrell. "Number one, it only allows a person to have one loan at a time, so they can't get themselves into trouble with multiple loans in different places. Secondly, it requires that there be a statewide database that lenders check to make sure that if somebody's coming in to apply for a loan that they don't already have a loan in another place."
Rep. Harrell is one of the bill's sponsors. He says changes could be right around the corner.
The bill would also allow extended payment plans and would limit the size of loans, but it does not discuss the issue of the interest rate. North Carolina, Georgia and 14 other states have banned payday lending altogether.
"I think because of where we are in the economy, it's absolutely essential that we put more regulations on this industry. At the same time, because of where we are, " Harrell said.