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Attack of the Loan Sharks, Texas Lege EditionTen years ago, the eighty-third Texas Legislature had a chance to prove it wasn’t hopelessly corrupted by even the sleaziest of industries. That year, lawmakers considered modest reforms to the payday loan industry, which uses a loophole in state law to avoid a constitutional prohibition on usury in order to charge small-dollar borrowers interest rates often greater than 500 percent. For years, religious charities, faith leaders, and working-class Texans had been complaining about how predatory lending was trapping borrowers in a cycle of debt. During long and emotional hearings, they begged lawmakers for relief. Legislators were treated to a litany of small tragedies—grandma taking out a $500 auto-title loan to pay for medicine only to find, months later, that her balance had somehow ballooned to…

The post Attack of the Loan Sharks, Texas Lege Edition appeared first on Texas Monthly.

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