High-interest car title loans would be banned in Arizona under ballot proposal

By Russ Wiles | Arizona Republic, 

Signature gatherers are starting to fan out across Arizona in an effort to curb a type of high-interest lending in the state.

Roughly 20 community groups on Tuesday kicked off a drive to qualify a measure that would curtail auto-title loans that feature high-interest rates and, critics say, trap borrowers in a debt cycle.

The year-long effort supporting the Arizona Fair Lending Act seeks to gather more than 237,000 signatures to place the measure on the November 2020 ballot. It comes 11 years after Arizonans defeated Proposition 200, which would have extended payday lending indefinitely. An enabling law expired two years later, ending payday loans here.

“We thought we had taken care of (predatory lending) in 2008,” said state Sen. Lela Alston, a Phoenix Democrat who spoke at the kickoff rally across the street from a LoanMax title-loan store at 15th Avenue and McDowell Road, in her district.

“But those weasels found a loophole in auto-title loans,” she said.

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