By: Javi Calderon
Utah Maintains Payday Loan Freedoms
After a two-hour debate, the Utah House Business and Labor Committee shelved a bill that would create a database for tracking the activity of payday loan customers within the state. The database would be used to collect and provide statistical data showing conclusively whether deferred deposit loans are helping or hurting consumers.
This is the second incarnation of the database bill proposed by Orem Representative Brad Daw. Last year the Business and Labor Committee voted 9 to 4 to kill the original bill that would have used the database to keep borrowers to a limit of one loan at a time.
Since then, Daw has rewritten some of the language and has taken a step towards moderation, this time proposing that the database be used only to collect data and later to determine whether the ‘one loan at a time’ rule is necessary. Still, members of the state legislature seem unconvinced. Unlike the first go round, the bill is still alive and will be discussed at a later date.
The committee did, however, accept a measure proposed by Representative Jim Dunnigan that will remove confusing language from a measure designed to garner loan information from payday lenders. The measure will allow for small changes to be made to data collected by state regulators.
Utah is notoriously liberal in terms of cash advance restrictions and regulations. For years the only law on the books was that a short-term loan had to be fully paid back within 10 weeks. Last year they passed the measure requiring all lenders to report to the Department of Financial Institutions. Jim Dunnigan’s bill will now temper and tweak those requirements.
The fact that Utah’s legislature is taking the time to gather information before taking action, and that they are taking innocuous steps in order to minimize any unexpected negative effects their decisions may have on the state’s economy, is refreshing in a country where we are routinely swept up by fads and propaganda. While New Hampshire is beginning to realize that maybe they acted too quickly in instituting a 36% APR cap for payday loans, Utah is taking the time to make sure their regulations are actually in the best interest of their citizens.