Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown asks the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to Expand Payday Lending Rules
In response to last week’s decision by the Ohio Supreme Court (see last post “Payday Lender Loophole Upheld by the Ohio Supreme Court”), Senator Sherrod Brown has sent a letter to the CFPB. Senator Brown is asking the Bureau to create more broad rules regulating the entire payday lending industry, covering national online payday lenders, lenders conducting auto-title loans and installment loans. All of these types of loans carry triple digit interest rates, and are able to avoid Ohio’s Short Term Lending Act (particularly in light of the Ohio Supreme Court’s decision). The CFPB has indicated it is now carefully drafting rules applicable to such lenders to avoid these “loopholes” in the future.
On June 11, 2014, the Ohio Supreme Court upheld a loophole utilized by payday lenders to make lucrative loans without having to comply with recent regulations passed by Ohio lawmakers. This decision reversed a Ninth District Court of Appeals decision and the Elyria Municipal Court’s original judgment that had held payday lenders could not use this loophole to get around the new requirements. The Loan at issue in this case had an annual interest rate of 245%. The Short Term Loan Act was originally passed to limit high interest rates charged by payday lenders. Lenders can now avoid these regulations by registering under the Mortgage Lending Act.
The Ohio Supreme Court entered an order on May 13, 2013 in response to Assistant Lorain County Prosecutor, Anthony Cillo’s request that Judge James M. Burge be disqualified from presiding over all of his cases. The Ohio Supreme Court disqualified Judge Burge from presiding over one specific case. The Courts decision rested largely on what it deemed to be an appearance of impropriety, namely that the Judge had spoken to the media about the case in question.
On May 29th, 2014, the Lorain County Prosecutor, Dennis Will, asked the Ohio Supreme Court to disqualify Judge Burge from hearing any cases his office is handling. Mr. Will has alleged that Judge Burge should be removed because of alleged inappropriate language and behavior towards Will’s staff. That decision is pending before the court.
Jude Edward Zaleski, a retired judge, will be handling Burge’s criminal cases until the Ohio Supreme Court makes its final determination on the Prosecutor’s newest request.