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Post-Holiday "Bills' Blues" Could Cause Painful New Year

December 26, 2006

Portland, OR - In the wake of the holiday season, tight budgets can get even tighter and that has some Oregonians looking for help from payday lenders. Oregon is one of the most expensive places in the country to get a payday loan, according to the Center for Responsible Lending, which claims it's one of nine states with average interest rates in excess of 500 percent.

Angela Martin with Our Oregon thinks it's time for the legislature to consider reinstating the state's previous cap for all consumer loans.

"Whether you're making a loan for 14 days or six months, 36 percent annual interest should apply to all. That was the law up until 1981 and our experiment with lifting that has failed, with Oregon families paying the price."

Martin points out that Congress passed a law this year capping interest at 36 percent for all military families. She says they're hoping the Oregon Legislature follows suit for all Oregon families.

"The only proven way to end predatory lending is to make 500 percent interest illegal."

A new law takes effect in July that will cap Oregon interest rates on short-term loans for under 60 days. However, Martin says this measure will be ineffective because payday lenders are now offering loans for just over 60 days at triple-digit interest.

Lenders say they're providing a necessary service to people in a crunch, and they're not breaking any laws.

The Center for Responsible Lending Report is online at www.responsiblelending.org.

Dondrea Warner/Eric Mack, Public News Service - OR