Rep. Gabbard Votes Against Predatory Lending Bill

February 14, 2018, 5:09 PM HST
* Updated February 15, 9:08 AM
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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. Courtesy photo.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard voted against legislation that would weaken protections against predatory and unsafe lending practices. H.R. 3299 would make it easier for payday lenders and other financial institutions to get around state laws and raise interest rates on loans that target low-income and minority communities. The legislation passed by a vote of 245-171.

Hawai‘i’s rate of payday loan usage is growing faster than the national growth rate, and the percentage of Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander households taking out payday loans has tripled since 2011.

More than 150 civil rights, consumer, faith and community organizations oppose H.R. 3299 including, Americans for Financial Reform, Center for American Progress, Center for Economic Integrity, Center for Responsible Lending, Consumer Action, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, NAACP, National Association of Consumer Advocates, Prosperity Works, Southern Poverty Law Center and United for a Fair Economy.

“For too long, payday lenders have preyed on our most vulnerable families that are struggling to make ends meet and put food on the table,” Congresswoman Gabbard said. “In Hawai‘i, where payday lending is unregulated by the state, it is legal to charge families up to 459 percent APR—nearly 100 times higher than most mortgage rates—on a payday loan. While several states have started to fight back and even ban these predatory lending practices, the legislation passed by Congress today would unravel this progress, clearing the way for our low-income, minority, and highest-need communities to fall directly into the trap that is set for them. We must focus on how we can empower people and work towards a financial system that serves all Americans equally and fairly.”

Rep. Gabbard has long-supported true financial reform, including a restoration of the Glass-Steagall Act, breaking up too-big-to-fail banks, and increased capital requirements for the nation’s largest banks. She has supported legislation like the Return to Prudent Banking Act, which would reinstate provisions of the Glass-Steagall Act to keep investment banking separate from commercial banking, as well as preventing too-big-to-fail banks from engaging in speculative trading.

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