PAYDAY SCAMS

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FYI: Councilmember Phil Reed’s Consumer Affairs Committee held hearings yesterday hoping to draw attention to the persistence of “payday loans”-short-term, high-interest loans usually for a few hundred dollars that lenders encourage borrowers to continually “rollover,” adding still more interest and fees. The practice is technically banned in New York, Reed said, but out-of-state banks regulated by lending laws in their own states have partnered with independent lenders here to evade local usury laws. A bill before the Council would force lenders to more fully disclose the cost of their loans, but members are urging the state to create greater restrictions on the lending practices of out-of-town banks doing business in New York and to restrict their ability to advertise in public transportation. [9/16/03]