CitySquare Stands Against Predatory Lenders

Date: April 26, 2017

CitySquare recently traveled to Austin to speak out against predatory lending before state lawmakers. Ann Baddour at the Texas Appleseed blog reported on the trip with the following report:

Earlier this month, Two bills that would effectively preempt the 42 and counting city ordinances that rein in the worst payday and auto title lending abuses in Texas were heard in committee—HB 3081 by Rep. Capriglione and HB 3947 by Rep. Laubenberg. Neither of the bills has the words “payday lender” in them, but don’t be fooled.

HB 3081 is a direct attack on the unified city ordinance reining in the most abusive practices of payday and auto title lenders. That ordinance is showing positive results in communities across Texas, with lower fees and fewer cars being repossessed by auto title lenders in cities that have adopted the ordinance. (see p.13 of a Texas Appleseed study released in June of 2016.) HB 3947 is a bit sneakier, creating a new cause of action against cities for a long list of state licensees. If passed, this bill would create a deluge of frivolous lawsuits against cities–at great expense to taxpayers.

Faith and nonprofit leaders showed up to oppose the bills at the Tuesday hearings. Rev. Gerald Britt, of CitySquare in Dallas, offered some of the most inspired testimony of the hearing on HB 3081. He drove through pounding rain and hail in the bad weather of the day to make it to Austin to testify on the bills. His words to the committee captured the essence of the strong opposition to the bill, “Our cities are tired of citizens being taken advantage of, tired of the lack of economic development in many of the areas where these businesses [payday and auto title lenders] are located; tired of the proliferation of businesses in these areas that choke out opportunities for wholesome businesses to locate…”

Not mincing words, Rev. Britt closed his testimony, telling committee members, “The message this committee sends by even passing this bill out of committee is that business trumps all…Business trumps the interest of families; business trumps health; business trumps individual freedom; and the economic welfare of business trumps the citizen’s right to expect fair treatment from those with whom the citizen conducts business.”

To read the full blog post at Texas Appleseed, click here.