This past week something remarkable happened in Columbus. Meaningful, strong, and consumer focused Payday Loan Reform passed both the Ohio House and Senate. I have been very fortunate to be a part of a diverse coalition across the state advocating for this reform, the Ohioans for Payday Loan Reform Coalition.
Our Coalition banded together with professionals from the PEW Charitable Trusts and leaders from Ohio because of the hardships witnessed amongst everyday Ohioans interacting with the Payday Loan Industry. Roughly 1 in every 10 Ohioan will take out a short term loan to pay a medical bill or unforeseen car repair. The concern however are the astronomical interest rates, fees, and terms which consistently place unsuspecting barrowers in a cycle of debt taking out loan after loan.
I helped to represent the interests in our Coalition of rural Ohioans and those who believe in a limited government approach to aiding communities and individuals. Traveling to Columbus to testify before committees twice and attending several lobby opportunities with a reform rally was a true privilege.
Many of our local residents reached out to me to share their story. From one individual who barrowed $800 for medical expenses and has to this date payed over $3,000 back without paying down the principle, to another who has a family farm and took out a loan for a piece of equipment only to pay back more than double the amount.
The reform bill passed in the Senate this past week, Sub H.B. 123, will help to alleviate the burden of excessive interest rates and fees, confusing terms, and the cycle of debt seen so often while still providing needed credit to barrowers. Ashtabula County residents alone are estimated to save roughly $1 Million a year from this reform. That’s real money kept in people’s pockets and can be spent locally.
This reform effort would not have been possible without the hard work of so many in the Coalition, at PEW, Rep. Kyle Koehler R- Springfield, Senator Scott Oelslager R- North Canton, and Ashtabula County native Senate President Larry Obhof R- Medina. Bipartisanship and common sense solutions are clearly not dead in Ohio, and thankfully neither is consumer focused reform.