LIVONIA, Mich. (12/9/14)--The Michigan Credit Union League's billboard campaign against expanded payday lending in the state is reaching its intended audience.
The Michigan Credit Union League has targeted lawmakers with a billboard campaign against a bill that would change the state's payday lender laws. (Michigan Credit Union League Photo)
In an effort to raise awareness during the brief but frenetic lame duck session, the league placed 27 billboards in the Lansing area and along I-96 in and out of Grand Rapids. The billboards are targeted at lawmakers traveling to and from the capital.
"Based on the large amount of feedback from policymakers and staff, we know that this strategy--supported by aggressive lobbying by our government affairs staff and thousands of grassroots contacts from credit union members around the state--is having an impact," said Ken Ross, league executive vice president/chief operating officer (Monitor Dec. 8).
The bill would allow for new loans of up to $5,000 with a new monthly account service fee of 9.75% of the original amount borrowed. With the additional fee in the Regulatory Loan Act, payday lenders would be able to make bigger loans with higher fees.
Many payday lenders are seeking to expand their products ahead of anticipated action by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to curtail traditional payday lending products in many states, according to Ross.
Ross said he has heard comments from interest groups, lawmakers, regulators, consumer advocacy groups and from the payday lending industry. "[The league] has built a coalition of groups opposed to this expansion that includes everyone from community bankers to religious leaders to consumer advocacy groups," he said.
Besides serving to oppose the payday lenders bill, the billboards raise credit unions' profile in the capital, Ross said. "Michigan lawmakers know that credit unions are willing to aggressively go to bat for Michigan consumers," he added.