The Mayors, representing a diverse cross section of Rhode Island urban, suburban, Republican and Democrat shared how the predatory and abuse practices of storefront payday lending has hurt their communities and their residents. Mayor Diossa highlighted the fact that payday lenders target single, female and minority families saying, Payday lenders have set-up shop in my town and target those who can least afford 260% APR loans and are more likely to get trapped in a cycle of debt. Mayor Avedisian praised the many good alternatives that have sprung up from entities like the Capital Good Fund and Navigant Credit Union. He said, in my experience most borrowers are trying to cover living expenses, not one-time emergencies. These safe, alternative products are so much more responsible and affordable for my residents. Mayors Fung and Fontaine struck similar notes as they reflected upon the detrimental effects of payday lending in their communities.
Senator Pichardo and Representative Ferri modeled their legislation after successful laws in 17 other states and seek to cap interest at the same rate the Federal government set for members of the military. If it is good enough for our military, it is good enough for Rhode Island, said Sen. Pichardo, a 22 year veteran of the Air National Guard. Ferri and Pichardo reiterated that this legislation is a priority and is co-sponsored by 29 of 38 Senators and 52 of 75 Representatives. The Senate bill is scheduled to be heard next Tuesday, April 2 in the Commerce Committee.