Payday loan restrictions back before RI lawmakers

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – Critics of payday lending say they’ll try again this year to get Rhode Island’s General Assembly to pass tougher rules for the industry.

Rep. Frank Ferri and Sen. Juan Pichardo announced Friday that they’ll reintroduce bills to limit the interest rates charged on payday loans. The proposal from the two Democrats has failed repeatedly in recent years in the face of strong opposition from payday lenders.

The bill would cap interest rates at 36 percent. Now, payday loans come with annualized interest rates of up to 260 percent.

Owners of the businesses say the loans are a valuable financial tool for many people and that capping interest rates could force their businesses to leave Rhode Island.

No vote on the bill has been scheduled.