Bill regulating payday loans reasonable step |

Bill regulating payday loans reasonable step

Nevada Appeal editorial board

Joining the party a bit late, Nevada lawmakers are finally getting around to legislation intended to rein in the state’s burgeoning “payday loan” industry, which in the old days would have been called “sharks.”

Now, however, it’s a legitimate industry with storefronts in every neighborhood shopping center and, in some cases, fees that can sink unwary consumers into deep financial difficulty.

Part of the reason these cash-advance places have flourished in Nevada obviously has to do with the gambling culture, an all-too-frequent cause for people to be broke before payday.

But another reason is the proliferation of fees by all kinds of financial institutions – from the 45-cent charge to use your debit card to the $25 penalty at the bank for bouncing a check.

In fact “community lenders,” as they call themselves, justify their fees as being in line with the kind of outrageous penalties tacked on by credit-card companies when you don’t pay your bill on time.

The argument may make sense to them, but it doesn’t do much to help working-class people just trying to make ends meet.

Assemblywoman Barbara Buckley’s bill, AB384, which has passed the Assembly, sets some parameters on how deep a person can get into a lender – no more than 25 percent of gross monthly income – and sets up a long list of safeguards. It doesn’t attempt to cap the interest rates, but it does make sure customers are fully aware of the high cost.

This is a reasonable step to regulate a business that fills a need but can, in the hands of the unscrupulous, mire people in financial misery.