LETTER: Quick cash can lead to cycle of debt


Everyone can relate to a story about someone they know falling into financial struggles, causing harm and substantial burdens to families. If we allow predatory payday lenders in Pennsylvania, the temptation of accessing quick cash will introduce too many Pennsylvanians to a cycle of debt. According to the Center for Responsible Lending, 76 percent of payday loans are to pay off previous payday loans.

FILE - In this July 18, 2012, file photo, a pedestrian walks past credit card logos posted on a downtown storefront in Atlanta. After a stint of frugality, Americans have returned to their borrowing ways. But are they getting into the kinds of debt trouble that lead to recessions? In 2017, U.S. consumers now owe roughly $12.73 trillion to banks and other lenders for mortgages, car loans and credit card spending, according to the New York Federal Reserve. That exceeds even the total before the last financial crisis. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

HR 3299/S 1642 would allow payday lenders or “non-banks” to ignore state interest rate caps and make high-rate loans. If they pass, we would see vulnerable Pennsylvanians become prey to loans with 400-percent interest rates or even higher.

Strong state rate caps, coupled with effective enforcement by states, remain the simplest and most effective method to protect consumers from the predatory lending debt trap. Unfortunately, U.S. Republican Sen. Pat Toomey supports this toxic legislation. If he doesn’t stand up for Pennsylvania consumers, who will?