On May 5th, 2010, the Colorado state legislature passed a payday lending reform bill that is a huge victory against predatory lending, and will benefit an estimated 200,000 low-income Coloradans annually.
“This bill will end the cycle of debt for so many hard-working Coloradans struggling to make ends meet. Payday loans can now be paid back in six months, rather than two weeks. Borrowers will now have a reasonable amount of time to pay back their loan without the two-week time bomb constantly ticking, forcing them to take loan after loan,” — Corrine Fowler from the Colorado Progressive Coalition.
CPC and their sister organization, Colorado Progressive Action, worked with a coalition of sixty organizations in the reform campaign, which focused on the harmful role payday lenders play in communities of color. The coalition brought grassroots voices directly to the statehouse for Congressional hearings, canvassed neighborhoods, held direct actions on the payday lenders ((Electa Draper, “Clerics, faithful protest at payday lender to back reform bill,” Denver Post, March 18, 2010, http://www.denverpost.com/ci_14696631)), and used multimedia tools ((Colorado Progressive Coalition, “CPC Presents: Loan Shark Week!!! Payday loan sharks feed on Colorado communities,” March 11, 2010, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pA1UPoxy-yI)) to spread the word about these loan sharks.
The win was a significant victory against corporate power, and a lesson learned about the power of community voices. The payday lending industry in Colorado spends millions to finance many lobbyists to try and block reform. In the end, though, both the public and the state legislature understood that financial institutions have a responsibility to be community assets, not a financial drains. The win is also a bell-weather victory for other states across the country battling payday lenders.
Read more about the legislation here:
- ABC News, “Colorado House Approves Payday Loan Restrictions,” http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wirestory?id=10556607&page=1
- The Durango Herald, “Ritter signs payday loans bill,” http://durangoherald.com/sections/News/2010/05/26/Ritter_signs_payday_loans_bill/