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ACTION ALERT: Payday lending reform needs 100 calls

Do you think that Ohio should have the worst payday lending interest rates in the country that can be around 600%? If no, then please call your Ohio House Representative today to support House Bill (HB) 123.

The House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee recently voted 9-1 to move HB 123 forward. With enough pressure from constituents, the bill is likely to come before the full House for a vote in mid-May. This is coming after revelations of an FBI investigation of payday lender lobbyists providing lavish international travel to the ex-Ohio House Speaker.

It is critical we make our voices heard to legislators over these two weeks. We can’t become complacent.

Our goal is to have House members receive 100 calls urging them to vote YES on this bill. Will you be one of those calls?

Please call your members of the Ohio House and ask them to vote YES on HB 123 to protect consumers and reject the influence of predatory payday lenders.

Here’s a simple sample of what you can say:

My name is ____ from ____. I am calling to urge you to vote YES on bipartisan payday loan reform, HB 123, to protect consumers and reject the influence of predatory payday lenders. Can we count on your support?

After you call, feel free to send us a note telling us how it went, and so we can thank you for your advocacy.

In case you missed the recent coverage, check out:

Editorial: Ohioans Deserve Answers to Payday Lending Questions
The Columbus Dispatch

Payday Lender Made International Trips with Ohio House Speaker
Dayton Daily News

Your calls can and are making a difference.

Thank you for your advocacy!

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Supporters pleased Ohio House Committee votes to move payday loan reform bill forward

Full House, Senate Must Act To Enact These Fair, Overdue Reforms

Nate Coffman speaks to the press following the successful vote on HB 123.

COLUMBUS – April 18 – Ohioans for Payday Loan Reform applauded the Ohio House Government Accountability and Oversight Committee for today voting 9-1 to send House Bill 123 on to the full House for a vote. If it becomes law, HB123 would make vast improvements to the payday lending landscape in Ohio.

Committee members voted overwhelmingly in favor of the bill as introduced more than a year ago by Reps. Kyle Koehler, R-Springfield, and Mike Ashford, D-Toledo. The only dissenting vote came from Rep. Bill Seitz, R-Cincinnati, who unsuccessfully tried to make amendments to the bill.

“It has been a long, difficult road to get this bill through committee,’’ said Springfield Pastor Carl Ruby, one of the coalition’s leaders. “I thank the majority of committee members who finally saw how much this will help hundreds of thousands of Ohio families trapped in debt and save them millions of dollars each year.

“But I especially want to thank Reps. Koehler and Ashford, who have demonstrated a sustained tenacity in working on this vital effort to protect Ohio residents,’’ said Ruby. “It’s not been easy in the face of payday lenders’ well-heeled lobbying efforts.’’

Coalition leaders also acknowledged Rep. Kirk Schuring, who had worked on amendments to HB 123 but, ultimately, agreed that the original bill should be voted on. “We might not have agreed with everything Rep. Schuring was working on, but we believe his heart was in the right place,’’ said David Thomas, a coalition leader from Ashtabula County.

“It is important that the full House move quickly to approve the bill and send it on to the Senate,” said coalition leader Nate Coffman of the Ohio CDC Association. “We can’t let them forget that in the first year this bill was stalled in committee, it cost Ohioans an estimated $75 million,’’ said Coffman. “The full House and the Senate can’t let that happen any longer. We encourage them to act swiftly in the best interests of all Ohioans.’’

Ohio has the dubious distinction of having the highest lending rates in the nation, with typical annual percentage rates on payday loans approaching 600%.

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Stuck in dial-up age, rural Ohio still pushing for high-speed internet

A recent Dispatch article featured Terri Fetherolf of OCDCA member Vinton County Economic Development Board.

Marion Renault of The Columbus Dispatch:

“McARTHUR — Terri Fetherolf has two wishes for Vinton County: clean water and fast internet.

The first is imperative for its safety and health. “But rolling out broadband is key to our economic survival,” said Fetherolf, Vinton County’s development director.

Today, high-speed internet has become a utility as important as sewage systems, the electricity grid and highways.

But despite the internet’s tightening chokehold on technologies embedded in our pockets, homes, vehicles and public spaces, more than 1 million Ohioans have zero access to fast, reliable broadband at home.

Almost a third of Ohio’s rural residents lack home access to broadband, compared with just 2 percent of urbanites, according to Federal Communications Commission estimates. Those figures are slightly better than the national rate.

Last week, a legislative proposal to establish a $50-million-per-year broadband development grant program inched forward, fueling the hopes of advocates.”

Read the full article.

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Congress considers going easy on predatory lenders

The New York Times Editorial Board:

“The payday lending industry is pressing its friends in Congress to repeal rules that shield borrowers from short-term loans that trap them in debt at interest rates of 400 percent or more. The rules were issued last year by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in a last gasp of consumer financial protection before President Trump appointed Mick Mulvaney as its new chief.

The new administration is openly hostile to the rules — which become effective in August 2019 — and is clearly looking for ways to undermine them. Meanwhile, bills introduced in both the House and the Senate would repeal the rules outright, opening the door for the return of lending practices that make working-class families poorer.

The payday industry advertises itself as a source of “easy” credit for workers who run short of money before their next paycheck and take out loans that are typically supposed to be repaid within two weeks. But there is nothing “easy” about this arrangement, as the consumer protection bureau showed in a study of more than 12 million loans. Among other things, the research revealed that the industry relies on people who can almost never repay on time, which usually means they borrow over and over again.

Among the study’s findings: Eighty percent of payday loans were rolled over or renewed within two weeks; three out of five loans were made to borrowers who paid more in fees than they borrowed; four out of five borrowers either defaulted or renewed a loan over the course of a year; and one in five payday borrowers — including elderly people on fixed income payments — remained mired in debt for the entire year.

As they press for federal legislation to overturn the rules, the lenders have been lobbying state legislatures to expand their right to issue payday loans for longer than 45 days, loans that would not be covered by the regulations.

The industry spent lavishly in Florida to pass a law that will allow an annual rate of nearly 300 percent on a three-month loan of $1,000, according to an analysis by the Pew Charitable Trusts.

The lenders are blocking bills restricting the industry in other states, including Ohio, where borrowers typically pay an annual rate of 591 percent — the highest payday loan costs in the United States.

Read the full editorial.

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Community Development Week starts April 2nd

Please find below information from the Ohio Development Services Agency regarding Community Development Week April 2 – 6.

The week is an excellent opportunity to highlight the successes of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Home Investments Partnerships program (HOME), and other critical community development resources.

Each year, you, our community development professionals are asked to do more with less. Through your collaborative efforts, we’ve been able to help many low- and moderate-income individuals in communities across the state.

This year marks the 32th anniversary of National Community Development Week. It is an opportunity for you to showcase your communities’ accomplishments and projects. It is an excellent opportunity to educate residents, business owners and elected officials about the CDBG, HOME and other community development programs through ODSA and how they improve the quality of life for all.

The work you do locally helps to strengthen communities across Ohio. We encourage you to participate in in Community Development Week this year. The Council of State Community Development Agencies (COSCDA) has a planning guidebook for the week. The National Community Development Association also has resources and ideas for events and outreach you can do locally.

If your community is planning any activities or events during the week, please contact Deauna Gibbs at deauna.gibbs@development.ohio.gov or 614-752-9556 with more information. We would like to highlight the change you’re making in the communities where you live and work.

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What’s happening? Payday lending reform & federal budget

A brief sample of our February 2018 newsletter: What’s Happening in Ohio Community Development?

First round of signatures filed to put payday lending reform initiative on statewide ballot

Leaders of an initiative to put payday lending reform on the November statewide ballot on Wednesday turned in over 2,000 petition signatures to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. This is the first step to getting the measure on the ballot. Backers are pursuing this direction because state lawmakers have not acted on reform. The petition language calls for a constitutional amendment that would cap payday loan interest rates in Ohio at 28%. Pastor Carl Ruby, of Springfield, and Nate Coffman filed the petitions. At least 1,000 of the Ohio voter signatures must be validated and the Attorney General’s Office must determine that the summary of the proposed constitutional referendum is a fair and truthful representation of the proposed law.

Payday lenders charge an average 591% annual percentage rate in Ohio, the highest such rate in the nation. Pastor Ruby said that rate is ridiculous, and he is tired of seeing lenders gouge vulnerable, lower-income working Ohioans. The ballot initiative mirrors some of the reforms called for in the bi-partisan  HB 123, which seeks to establish a maximum interest rate on such loans of 28% plus a maximum monthly fee of $20. Coffman pointed out that in 2008, Ohioans overwhelmingly voted in favor of payday lending reforms. “Since then, payday lenders have by-passed the will of the people and state law and are charging even higher prices,” he said. “That’s unacceptable, and we are certain Ohio voters will agree if legislators themselves don’t move quickly on reform.” View Nate on the  The State of Ohio show (12-minute mark) and  In Focus. Check out more coverage from the Columbus Dispatch, Plain Dealer, Dayton Daily News, WHIO, and WKSU.

The coalition would like to thank the many OCDCA members that collected signatures during a short window of time.

The coalition will be in touch soon with a call for volunteers for the second phase of signatures.

 

Read the whole newsletter or subscribe to it!

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First round of signatures filed to put payday lending reform initiative on November statewide ballot

“We are certain voters will support this if legislators don’t act on reform”

Pastor Carl Ruby and Nate Coffman explain the necessity for payday lending reform.

Leaders of an initiative to put payday lending reform on the November statewide ballot this morning turned in over 2,000 petition signatures to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office. This is the first step to getting the measure on the ballot. Backers are pursuing this direction because state lawmakers have not acted on reform.

The petition language calls for a constitutional amendment that would cap payday loan interest rates in Ohio at 28%.

Nate Coffman, of Ohio CDC Association in Columbus, and Pastor Carl Ruby, of Springfield, are filing the petitions. At least 1,000 of the Ohio voter signatures must be validated and the Attorney General’s Office must determine that the summary of the proposed constitutional referendum is a fair and truthful representation of the proposed law.

The Attorney General must then certify the petition to the Secretary of State. At that point, Coffman, Ruby and other supporters can start collecting the 305,591 valid registered voter signatures that must be filed by July 4 in order to get the issue on the November ballot.

“These petitions, these signatures are proof that we mean business,’’ said Coffman. “It’s been nearly 12 months since a bi-partisan reform bill, House Bill 123, was introduced and the legislation has stalled ever since. It seems like they don’t care that every day this bill doesn’t move forward, it costs Ohioans an average of $200,000 in excessive borrowing costs, or about $75 million annually. That’s not acceptable. And that’s why we are pushing for a ballot issue.’’

Payday lenders charge an average 591% annual percentage rate in Ohio, the highest such rate in the nation. Pastor Ruby said that rate is ridiculous, and he is tired of seeing lenders gouge vulnerable, lower income working Ohioans.

It’s time for the voters of Ohio to have their say, because apparently many in the legislature are not willing or eager to advance

Pastor Carl Ruby and Nate Coffman submitting over 2,000 signatures to the Attorney General’s Office.

HB 123,’’ said Ruby. “With a few notable exceptions, they seem more interested in placating the special interest groups who are profiting from these loans, than in protecting the working class borrowers who are sinking deeper and deeper into debt.’’

The ballot initiative mirrors some of the reforms called for in the bi-partisan HB 123, which seeks to establish a maximum interest rate on such loans of 28% plus a maximum monthly fee of $20.

Coffman pointed out that in 2008, Ohioans overwhelmingly voted in favor of payday lending reforms. “Since then, payday lenders have by-passed the will of the people and state law and are charging even higher prices,’’ he said. “That’s unacceptable, and we are certain Ohio voters will agree if legislators themselves don’t move quickly on reform.’’

Members of Ohioans for Payday Loan Reform, a diverse statewide coalition of more than 100 individuals and organizations that support passage of HB 123, will be asked to support the ballot initiative.

Nick DiNardo, of Cincinnati, and Michal Marcus, of Cleveland, are joining Ruby and Coffman in the push for a November ballot vote. 

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Sign here for increased community development and housing resources

We all know that there is tremendous unmet need in the state for community development funding and for housing that low-income people can afford.

However, there is good news: Congress’s recent bipartisan budget agreement is the first opportunity in many years to get increased federal funding for community development and affordable housing.

President Trump’s new budget is a bad start, but it’s just symbolic. The fact is, Congress just lifted austere spending caps that have starved HUD programs for years.

The bill adds $131 billion in domestic non-defense spending for the next two fiscal years, and now they need to figure out how to spend it.

While Trump’s budget would add only $2 billion of that new money to HUD (for an overall 14% cut), we know that increased funding for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), HOME Investments Partnership program (HOME), rental assistance, and the National Housing Trust Fund would go a long way to alleviating resource scarcity and the affordability crisis.

But we need to let our members of Congress know these programs really work.

The first step is to add your organization to this sign-on letter asking Ohio’s congressional delegation to support increased funding for HUD programs.

After you sign the letter, we’ll get in touch when the time comes to call your members of Congress to let them know how important these federal community development and housing programs are to their constituents.

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Opportunity zone census tract submission – due next week

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created a new class of community investment vehicles through the Opportunity Zones Program, which aims to drive long-term capital into distressed communities by providing tax benefits on investments in Opportunity Funds (O Funds), which allow investors to pool and deploy their resources in low-income census tracts.

The state will be submitting up to 25% of Ohio’s low-income census tracts for program inclusion in the coming weeks. Please find below a notice from the Ohio Developments Services Agency (ODSA) Assistant Director Matt Peters on how to request your census tracts to be included.

In the recently passed federal tax bill, states have been asked to identify census tracts that may been from a new federal tax incentive program known as Opportunity Zones. The state of Ohio can nominate up to 319 qualified low-income census tracts.

States nominate census tracts to the U.S. Treasury, which will make the final determination. We have set up a page for online submission of census tracts to be considered for recommendation to the U.S. Treasury. The State of Ohio will accept submissions through 4pm on Friday, March 2, 2018.

Below is the link to both the submission site as well as a map of census tracts identified by the state that would qualify for nomination. Please provide your contact information and identify the census tract by number, as well as a brief narrative about economic activity; current or committed, in the tract. If you submit more than one tract, please provide information for each individual tract. If you submit more than one tract, you will be asked to prioritize your nominations.

To submit census tracts.

To view our map.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Matt Peters
Assistant Director
Director’s Office
614.466.8737

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Nate Coffman on In Focus with Mike Kallmeyer

Yesterday, our executive director, Nate Coffman was on In Focus with Mike Kallmeyer to talk about Ohioans for Payday Loan Reform and the statewide citizens initiative to get a ballot measure in November combating predatory lending in Ohio. 

Payday loans in Ohio are the most expensive in the nation, with an astounding typical annual percentage rate (APR) of 591%.

Ten years ago, Ohioans voted by a nearly 2:1 margin to implement reasonable reform to the payday lending industry, but that language had a loophole, which allowed the predatory lending industry to go unchecked in Ohio.

On a federal level, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau is continuing to drop cases regarding outrageous practices of payday lenders. That is why we need real reform now.

Watch the nearly eight minute video.