Success from the session: Ritter signs payday bill, cites Bell's contribution
Years of hard work paid off yesterday when Gov. Bill Ritter signed the payday lending bill into law.
We view this as a long, overdue victory for consumer protection in Colorado.
In 2002, the Bell identified predatory lending as a crippling practice that holds back too many families, preventing them from building wealth and achieving self-sufficiency.
We conducted research on payday lending, its victims and impacts and laws in other states, and we consulted with the Center for Responsible Lending and other consumer-protection groups. We, along with partners, published reports on payday lending and the devastating impact it was having on Coloradans.
Three years ago, we joined with others to propose legislation to change payday lending in Colorado. This year, after two failed attempts, HB 1351, sponsored by Rep. Mark Ferrandino and Sen. Chris Romer, reached the governor's desk.
In signing the bill, Ritter said it boiled down to a matter of "fairness." We couldn't agree more.
Payday loans will still be expensive, but the costs will be cut by about 60 percent over current rates. A key feature of the bill is a six-month term. This gives people who use these loans a reasonable chance to pay them off.
That was the goal all along. It wasn't easy, but we are happy to share the news.
One last note: We're proud to mention that the governor singled out the Bell at the signing ceremony, saying that its work had been critical to the bill's success.
In related news, Ritter last week signed HB 1400, which addressed another form of predatory lending: refund-anticipation loans. These high-cost bank loans are based on anticipated income tax refunds, and they are typically marketed to low- and middle-income taxpayers. Under the new law, originators of these loans will have to register with the Internal Revenue Service.