Thursday, January 7, 2010

Seeking information on Martha Coakley's Division of Banks regulation of pawn shops.

Does anyone have a follow up to this excellent Donna Roberson/Boston Globe April, 2007 story "State fails to curb usurious pawnshop rates" about pawn shop regulation? I will telephone State Rep Quinn's office this morning for more information.
For the last seven years, Massachusetts banking officials have made fitful efforts to stop some of the state's poorest cities from letting pawnshops charge usurious interest rates for loans to the down-and-out.

Yet nothing has changed. Tens of thousands of the state's poorest people continue to pay municipally sanctioned pawnshop interest rates of 7 to 10 percent per month -- 84 to 120 percent a year -- despite a state rule limiting the annual rate to 36 percent.

In one case, it took the state Division of Banks 18 months to hold a hearing on the 10 percent monthly rate approved by Fall River officials.

State and local oversight is so scant that an investigation by the Globe and Fox 25 News found that some pawnshops do as they please.......

Since 2003, [State Rep. John F.] Quinn has filed legislation [H291] three times to place a statewide cap of 36 percent per year on pawnshop interest. If Quinn's legislation became law, it would replace a century-old statute that has caused more squabbling between state and municipal officials than oversight of the industry. The law gives cities and towns the power to set rates, but includes a section that says state banking regulators have to approve the rates.

Finally, Quinn's lonely crusade is drawing attention. On Beacon Hill, where executive power changed hands this year, Daniel Crane, the top consumer official under Governor Deval Patrick, and newly elected Attorney General Martha Coakley expressed anger and chagrin when the Globe and Fox 25 News raised questions about the exorbitant interest rates, and the state's hapless efforts to rein them in.
Perhaps if Attorney Coakely spent less time attacking black and little people like Cat Gibbons and Miracle Mortgage she would have time to address real matters of public concern like this.

Bonus round: Pacino speaks on being Shylock.

No comments:

Post a Comment