Public testimony sought on payday lending

Wisconsin is the only state in the United States that does not have any regulation dealing with payday lending. A half-dozen bills to regulate the payday loan industry are being considered in Madison but the residents most impacted by those businesses have rarely been heard from in those discussions.

The Social Development Commission (SDC) wants the public to have their say on the issue of Payday Lending by offering a public hearing Tuesday, March 9 at the Washington Park Senior Center at 4420 W. Vliet Street. The hearing which runs from 4:30 to 8 pm will gather testimony from residents. The testimony will be taken to state offi cials in Madison to help form the debate on payday lending legislation pending in the State Legislature.

SDC notes that in 1995, Wisconsin had 17 payday lenders. By 2009, that number had grown to 542. The average interest rate on a payday loan is more than 542% and the average income of borrowers is less than $19,000 a year. The goal of the public hearing is to create a platform for community residents to speak on this issue and have their voices heard when various bills on the industry are debated in Madison.

Residents are invited to give testimony on their experiences with payday lending at the hearing, their thoughts on the industry, and messages they have for state lawmakers on this issue. The testimony will be given on a first come basis and will be limited to three minutes per person. Written testimony will be accepted at and after the public hearing by mailing it to SDC, David Celata, 4041 N. Richards Street, Milwaukee, WI 53212.

The public is invited and encouraged to take part in the March 9th public hearing at the Washington Park Senior Center. For more information, contact David Celata at SDC at 414-906- 2718.