Video: AG Mark Herring, Del. Scott Surovell Speak Out Against Predatory Lenders

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    Great stuff from Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring and Del. Scott Surovell, who’s running for State Senate. Here are some highlights from their press conference yesterday on Route 1 Mt. Vernon.

    AG Mark Herring

    *”As Attorney General…I am the voice of [Virginia] consumers…Sadly, Virginia is becoming known as the predatory lending capital of the east coast, and that is something that I cannot and will not accept, and neither will Delegate Surovell. It hurts our state’s reputation and importantly it means that a lot of people in Virginia are being hurt…low-income Virginians, military families and others are being hurt by these predatory loans and we’ve got to do more to stop it.”

    *”We’re seeing a proliferation of predatory loans in a lot of places, including along Route 1…These types of activities are pernicious…hurt Virginia’s economy…and we need to do more about it…While there are some things I can do as Attorney General, we really need to have a legislature who will stand up for these low-income consumers who are being hurt; Del. Surovell has proven over and over…that he is doing that, he is standing up for them, and we need that strong voice…in the State Senate.”

    *”A lot of these loans are legal, that’s exactly the problem…These loans are often designed to fail from the get-go.”

    *”We have taken some enforcement actions, there are some cases…We are going to enforce the laws we have…but the biggest problem is the laws themselves…open-ended lending and these revolving laws are…for the most part, unregulated; that is a huge problem…”

    *”While we can take some enforcement action around the edges, for the most part these loans are being made legally and that’s the problem. We need stronger laws, we need people in the legislature like Scott Surovell who will stand up for low-income Virginians and consumers who are in difficult situations.”

    *”A lot of these loans carry an APR of anywhere from 200% to 300%, and that very quickly, within a few months, makes it difficult for anyone trying to make ends meet to pay off the loan.”

    Del. Scott Surovell

    *”In 2011 the legislature passed a bill that allowed car title lenders to use out-of-state titles as collateral for their loans. And as soon as that happened, this business exploded in the Route 1 corridor.”

    *”In Virginia…about one out of four people fail on these lines in the first 60 days they buy them…most of the people who get these lines are on the margins of credit already…many of them end up losing their cars.”

    *”This problem is out of control; predatory lenders target the military…low-income families…non-native speakers…people from other states, and that’s why this one right here is located about half a mile from the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. This business is not allowed in D.C. or Maryland at these kinds of interest rates, so they advertise on TV to attract people in to get these loans; it’s bad, it’s predatory and it needs to stop.”

    *”There’s a billion-dollar casino being built minutes about 5 minutes from where we stand right now. Another thing I’m worried about is people coming over here, getting a $1,000 loan and going and putting it on red or black on a roulette wheel and losing their car immediately…”