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Press Release (Center for Responsible Lending)

Coloradans have come together to stop predatory payday lending by passing a 36% cap on annual interest rates for payday loans. Today’s results make Colorado the fifth state to affirm an interest rate cap by ballot and the sixteenth state (plus the District of Columbia) to protect against predatory payday lending through reasonable usury limits.

In a campaign led by representatives of communities hardest hit by predatory payday lending—including the NAACP, COLOR, and veterans—voters passed Proposition 111, which will put an end to interest rates on payday loans that averaged well into the triple digits and could legally rise above 200%. The reform can be expected to save the state approximately $50 million per year in excessive fees.

Endorsers came from all walks of life—over fifty veterans’ groups, dozens of faith leaders, the Colorado Catholic Conference and Colorado Council of Churches, groups serving both urban and rural communities, such as Mile High United Way and the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union—as well as both major and smaller news outlets, and lawmakers and candidates from both sides of the aisle.

High-cost payday lenders rely on a business model of reaching into their customers’ bank accounts for payment, whether or not the funds are there, or whether money remains for necessities such as rent and food, frequently forcing customers into repeated borrowing. Customers described financial distress including accumulating bank fees and an inability to break free from a web of debt that makes them worse off than when they started.

“This campaign harnessed the energy of individuals and groups from across the political spectrum, giving voice to those most impacted by the trap of predatory payday loan debt,” said Center for Responsible Lending Western Office Director, Ellen Harnick. “Those who are on the ground understand the harm that triple-digit loans cause struggling families, and they made sure those stories were heard. Now Colorado joins states across the nation that are waking up to stop the debt trap for people already working hard to make ends meet.”