Update: The NYS legislative session ended on Friday, June 17, 2016. The Savino/Rodriguez bill described below did not move out of the Assembly Codes Committee or the Senate Rules Committee. Thank you to all who took action to stop this dangerous proposal!
A dangerous bill that would allow New York check cashers to become lenders is moving quickly in the NYS legislature. Take action now to oppose Senate bill 6985-B (Savino)/Assembly bill 9634-B (Rodriguez).
The bill (S.6985-B/A.9634-B) would permit check cashers in New York State to become small business and commercial lenders. The bill would further authorize check cashers to partner with out-of-state banks to bring consumer, business and other kinds of loans into New York — including at extremely high interest rates that are illegal under our state usury caps. These kind of “rent-a-bank” schemes have been widely condemned by NYS and federal regulators, fair lending and civil rights groups, legal services attorneys and others, and have been used by payday lenders to evade state consumer protections like we have in New York.
In fact, New York State has been a leader in enacting and enforcing strong consumer protections, and this bill is a dangerous step in the wrong direction — opening the door to predatory loans that our state has long banned.
This bill is the check cashing industry’s latest attempt to get a lending foothold in our state. Check cashers have lobbied for years to make high-cost loans in New York State. (See p. 13-16 of our report, The Case for Banning Payday Lending, for a summary of those failed efforts.) By permitting check cashers to partner with out-of-state banks, the latest bill would invite payday and other predatory lending into low income neighborhoods and communities of color across New York State.
No public hearings have been held on this bill, even though it proposes a radical change in New York’s financial services landscape and would grant unprecedented new powers to the check cashing industry.
Bill Status: After clearing the Banks committees in both houses, the Savino/Rodriguez bill was amended on 6/13/16 and recommitted to the NYS Assembly Codes Committee and NYS Senate Rules Committee.
2 — Ask your NYS Senator and Assembly Member to affirmatively strengthen and promote community development financial institutions (CDFIs) in our state, which have a proven track record of meeting community and small business credit needs.
3 — Share this alert on social media and with your networks!
- Memos of opposition to S.6985-B/A.9634-B (packet in formation) from NYS community, labor, consumer, civil rights and legal services groups and the Center for Responsible Lending. Memos address why the latest amendments to the bill, posted on June 13, 2016, fail to resolve fundamental problems with the bill. See also previous 26 memos of opposition to S.6985-A/A.9634-A.
- Memo of opposition to S.6985-B/A.9634-B from 14 national organizations, including Small Business Majority, Main Street Alliance, Americans for Financial Reform, Consumer Federation of America, Demos, and Public Citizen.
- The New York Times, Editorial, An Invitation to Abuse by Check Cashers
- NY Daily News, Keep payday loans out of N.Y.: Politicians are pocketing campaign funds from the check-cashing industry and considering an economically dangerous policy
- NY1 News, Inside City Hall, Interview with former New York Financial Services Superintendent Ben Lawsky about proposal to allow check cashers to make loans
- WBFO 88.7, Consumer advocates oppose bill allowing check cashers to issue loans
GROUPS OPPOSING SAVINO/RODRIGUEZ BILL (list in formation):
ALIGN: Alliance for a Greater New York
Americans for Financial Reform
Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development
Brooklyn Legal Services*
Brooklyn-wide Interagency Council on Aging
CAMBA Legal Services
Center for Responsible Lending
Central New York Citizens in Action
Citizen Action of New York
Community Capital New York
Consumer Federation of America
District Council 37, AFSCME, AFL-CIO
Local 372, DC 37 AFSCME, Education Employees
Local 420, DC 37 AFSCME, Healthcare Workers
Local 1549, DC 37 AFSCME, Clerical-Administrative Employees
District Council 1707 AFSCME
Empire Justice Center
Genesee Co-op Federal Credit Union
Greater Rochester Housing Partnership
Habitat for Humanity New York City
Legal Services NYC*
Long Island Housing Services
Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union
Main Street Alliance
MFY Legal Services
National Association of Consumer Advocates
National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients)
New Economy Project
New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG)
New York Working Families
NY Statewide Senior Action Council
Picture the Homeless
Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union (RWDSU)
Small Business Majority
St. Nicks Alliance
Teamsters Local 237
University Neighborhood Housing Program
Westchester Residential Opportunities, Inc.
Western New York Law Center
Women’s Venture Fund
To add your organization’s name to the list of groups opposing S.6985-B / A.9634-B, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Statement of concern