by John Grooms
The New Bosses in the General Assembly, along with some Democratic enablers, are getting ready to bring back predatory lending to North Carolina. In 2005, N.C. outlawed loans with an interest rate higher than 36 percent, although the Financial Vulture industry still managed to make healthy profits in the meantime. But hard times for the country turn into good-time profits for one of America's most disreputable "industries," so the buzzards are back, looking for more carrion from the new N.C. regime, in the form of House Bill 810.
The bill would legalize loans with annual interest rates up to 100 percent. Theres an obvious issue here that, apparently, is irrelevant in Raleigh: the moral decadence it takes to either lend money to hard-strapped people at such high rates, or to consider re-legalizing those rates. But aside from concerns for justice yet to be a priority for the corporate wolves now running the legislature, in any case theres also the matter of the extra $90 million the bill would strip from N.C. families each year, according to an extensive study by the Center for Responsible Lending.
And theres also the little matter of who profits from predatory lending. You may think of consumer finance in terms of commercials from earlier times, with a friendly, locally owned lender helping out a neighbor who wants to add a sunroom to her house. Well, those days are gone. In the case of this particular bill, the biggest profits will go to two of Americas Vulture Godfathers, CitiFinancial and American General (which is owned by AIG and a New York hedge fund). Their lobbyists are walking the halls in Raleigh as we speak and they will get their government giveaway unless they hear from enough real citizens who think it may not be such a nice idea to rip off the needy for the sake of the almighty dollar.
Read more about the bill here . There are four representatives from Mecklenburg County on the House Banking Committee, which is considering HB 810. Let them know how you feel about bringing back 100-percent loans to the state. Here are the members:
Rep. Kelly M. Alexander (D) Kelly.Alexander@ncleg.net 919-733-5778
Rep. William Brawley (R) Bill.Brawley@ncleg.net 919-733-5800
Rep. Becky Carney (D) Becky.Carney@ncleg.net 919-733-5827
Rep. Rodney W. Moore (D) Rodney.Moore@ncleg.net 919-733-5606