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Advocates For Poor Continue Opposition To Legalize, Regulate “Payday” Loans

(credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

(credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

(Capitol dome, Harrisburg, Pa.   File photo) Tony Romeo
  Tony Romeo is Harrisburg bureau chief for KYW Newsradio...
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By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) – Advocates for the poor continue their opposition to legislation that would legalize and regulate so-called “payday” loans in Pennsylvania.

A state Senate committee held a hearing on a bill that has already passed the House. The sponsor of the bill, Chester County House Republican Chris Ross, says existing state law simply sends people in need of short-term “payday” loans to find them on the Internet.

“Current attempts to ban payday lending in Pennsylvania simply drive the lenders out of the reach of the regulators,” says Ross.

But Kerry Smith of Philadelphia’s Community Legal Services cites a Pew study that concludes otherwise.

“In fact, 95 out of every 100 would-be payday borrowers just choose not to borrow at all,” Smith points out.

Opponents say payday loans put borrowers in a debt trap. A spokesman for the Senate majority leader says it’s uncertain right now whether the Senate will vote on the House bill before the current two-year legislative session ends this fall.

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