By MT Rep. Senator Tom Winter
Our political process and institutions continue to be bogged down by partisan mudslinging and congressional inaction. Yet, one thing all sides can agree on is that the consistent losers from our broken politics are the everyday Americans who can’t afford to wait on D.C. gridlock.
We may be quite far from solving all of our underlying political issues, but what we can do is take an obvious, bipartisan win when it’s right in front of us. And that’s what we have in the Veterans and Consumers Fair Credit Act (VCFCA).
The VCFCA is simple: It would take the 36 percent annual rate cap and other protections from the overwhelmingly bipartisan Military Lending Act (MLA) and extend them to all consumers. These protections have specifically guarded consumers against the predatory payday loan industry, preventing triple-digit interest rates.
Data from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) shows 85 percent of payday loans are reborrowed within 30 days and 75 percent of all payday loan fees come from victims taking an average of 10 loans before being able to pay them off. These numbers aren’t bugs but a feature of the payday lending industry’s business model: Ensnare working Americans in debt traps that only lead to more cycles of debt.
Protecting our veterans from the predatory practices of payday lenders was a no-brainer - so is extending those protections to all consumers. Montana’s delegation to Congress - and all candidates running to be a part of it: take the bipartisan win and support the VCFCA.