AG Hood Fights Legislation Protecting Abusive Lending Practices
Attorney General Jim Hood is urging Congressional leadership to vote against HR 3299 (“Protecting Consumers’ Access to Credit Act of 2017”) and HR 4439 (“Modernizing Credit Opportunities Act”), two bills that would invalidate a state’s ability to protect consumers from high interest loans and undermine a state’s ability to enforce consumer protection laws.
General Hood sent a letter to Congressional leaders last week with a bipartisan group of 20 other attorneys general expressing their opposition to the proposed legislation. As the attorneys general expressed in the letter, HR 3299 and HR 4439 would constitute a substantial expansion of the preemption of state usury laws, which have long been recognized as the purview of the individual states. Over decades, states have crafted laws that create a careful balance between the need for access to credit and the need to ensure that loans are offered on terms that do not create consumer harm. However, if passed, these bills would allow non-bank lenders to sidestep state usury laws and charge excessive interest rates that would otherwise be illegal under state law.
“It is my duty as attorney general to protect Mississippians from predatory business practices and those who take advantage of their customers in financial need,” said General Hood. “The bills in front of Congress would limit a state’s ability to protect consumer rights and make it easier for non-bank lenders to deceive and mislead. I urge our Congressional leaders to stand up for consumers by voting against this legislation.”
In addition to Mississippi, attorneys general from the following states signed the letter: California, Colorado District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.