Mt. Vernon, Virginia – Delegate Scott Surovell (D-44) and Del. Patrick Hope (D-47) introduced legislation to attack predatory lending:
· HB 2011 – Prohibiting bait and switch tactics by car title lenders.
· HB 2012 – Prohibiting any lender from requiring a borrower to install a remote device that allows a lender to disable their vehicle.
· HB2191 – Prohibiting any car title lender from operating within 10 miles of a casino or military installation.
Over the past three years, the U.S. 1 Corridor in Fairfax County has become an epicenter for car title lending. Last year, Delegate Surovell became aware that car title lenders had created a subsidiary to operate out of the same store fronts and sell consumer finance loans to car title lending customers.
Since the economic recession, car title loans have increased sharply among low-credit score individuals looking to make ends meet. These sub-prime loan recipients then go to these car title lenders, specifically TitleMax at one of their 89 locations in Virginia, however they leave unaware with a consumer finance loan from TMX Finance which operates within 82 of the TitleMax buildings, 10 of which are located on U.S. 1 in Fairfax County.
Unlike car title loans, consumer finance loans do not carry numerous consumer protections. For example:
· No interest cap over $2,501
· Loan can exceed the fair market value of the car
· Protections of the Fair Debt Collections Act of 1996 do not apply so loan collectors are allowed to solicit, harass and repossess regardless of an agreed upon time to pay said loan back
The combination of these businesses was created to evade the 2010 regulations put into place that restricted Motor Vehicle Title loans from increasing interest rates and collecting loans without limitation. “Co-location of car title lenders and consumer finance companies codifies predatory bait and switch tactics,” said Delegate Surovell, “we need to protect Virginians from predatory lending, not facilitate it.”
Predatory lenders are also known to prey on military families and borrowers in extreme financial distress. “Prohibiting these establishments within 10 miles of a military base or casino will help to protect Virginia’s soldiers and financially distressed from abusive lending practices,” said Delegate Patrick Hope.
Finally, Delegate Surovell’s HB 2012 prohibits any lenders from requiring any borrower to install a device on their vehicle which would allow a lienholder to disable the vehicle remotely for non-payment or any other issues. “Starter interrupters present a safety risk for not only drivers but also others on the road,” said Delegate Surovell. “They should be illegal in Virginia.”