Friday, February 17, 2012

Car Title Lenders Explode on U.S. 1

Today, Patch is reporting that Mike's Italian Restaurant is being converted into a Car Title Lender. 

They will joint the new lender at the Ranch House near Walmart at King's Crossing and the other one on Beacon Hill.  The number of car title lenders have tripled on Route 1 in six months.

In our 2010 session, we voted on legislation to reform our car title lending laws to limit the predatory practices of this industry.  In the 2011, session, the industry came back and said that the General Assembly had "mistakenly" prohibited them from allowing non-Virginia vehicles to be used as collateral for their loans.

From my point of view, the industry wanted to be able to lend to out-of-state lenders because they wanted to lend money to people from D.C. and Maryland (or other border states) who were subject to more restrictive laws, and to active duty military.  I argued to people that U.S. 1 would be ground zero for car title lending due to its proximity to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.  I thought this was the last kind of redevelopment we needed on U.S. 1 if we were going to improve the reputation of our area. 

The bill passed the Senate on one of the closest votes I have ever seen on our floor with the anti-car title lender forces being led by former Delegate Glen Oder from Norfolk.  The final vote was 51-47, but two members later filed slips indicating they had mistakenly voted yes instead of no.  One member didn't vote. 

Looks like I was right.

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