This month at the Indiana Statehouse, Assets & Opportunity Network partners helped spearhead the defeat of SB 245, a bill to authorize new, longer term predatory loans with high interest rates. The bill would have allowed a borrower to take out up to a $2,500 loan at 240 percent APR and repayment terms of 24 months. The bill was amended to a cap of 18 months, $1,750, and 216 percent APR. Nineteen opponents testified against the bill, representing credit counselors, former payday borrowers, non-profit organizations, religious leaders, a former payday loan company employee, veterans’ groups, and more. The bill was defeated in a 4-5 vote. Please help us thank Senators Bray, Melton, Mrvan, Ruckelshaus, and Walker for their key votes to help protect Indiana families.
A bill to eliminate the asset test from SNAP eligibility determinations so that families can save for self-sufficiency passed out of committee, but has yet to be heard on the Senate floor. The administratively cumbersome asset test “catches” very few individuals, .4 percent in Indiana, who are over the limit of $2,250 in savings. Both national research and interviews with Hoosier SNAP recipients and service providers suggest that it deters participation in banking and saving. We encourage members to call their senators and encourage passage of SB 154.
On the national front, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) continued its defense of Hoosier consumers. It fined Russell Simmons’ prepaid card for blocking consumer access, ordered Prospect Mortgage to pay fines for an illegal kickback scheme, sued debt relief attorneys for illegal practices, ordered Citi subsidiaries to pay for making it more difficult for borrowers to save their homes, and sued TCF National Bank for tricking customers into signing up for an expensive overdraft service. Because of its many years of work standing up to companies that mislead or overcharge consumers, the CFPB has become a target for reforms that would limit its effectiveness. As a member of the banking committee, Senator Donnelly will be on the front lines of these efforts; please let him know that you would like him to maintain strong consumer protections through an active, independent CFPB.