SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — New legislation aims to cap interest rates on payday loans in Missouri. Right now the average interest rate is 450 percent.
The group Faith Voices of Southwest Missouri recently heard from Speaker of the House Todd Richardson, who told them he is open to supporting House Bill 1105 that was introduced by Representative Lynn Morris.
The goal of the bill is to help keep people out of the cycle of debt created by such high-interest rates.
“They could make it more of manageable rate,” said Alicia Hublou, a Springfield resident. “It wouldn’t be so bad. It would be fine for emergencies.”
Hublou needed $120 dollars last October.
“I’m still paying for it,” she said.
Her interest rate on that loan was 150 percent. Bringing her total up to $300.
“I think it’s kind of ridiculous,” she said.
She’s been paying $42 dollars a month.
“I’d be ok, but I’m gonna have to pay it much longer because the interest rate is so high,” said Hublou.
It’s to protect people like her, that House Bill 1105 was introduced. And the organization Faith Voices of Southwest Missouri is supporting the bill.
“For us it was a justice issue,” said Dr. Danny Chisholm, pastor at University Heights Baptist Church. “From our standpoint as a congregation, and doing things from a faith posture, there are several scriptures that talk about treating the less fortunate and those who are poor fairly.”
The bill would cap interest rates at 36 percent, which is now only the max for service members.
“It’s a financial benefit for people, but it’s also really an emotional benefit as well,” said Dr. Chisholm.
For Hublou, it’s common sense.
“I’m a former service member myself. Why can’t I have that protection now as a civilian?”
Only a handful of states have a cap on interest rates, including Arkansas where it’s 17 percent. Previous efforts for a cap in Missouri have failed, but supporters hope it’s a different story this year.
“I want to be cautiously optimistic,” said Dr. Chisholm. “Anytime an issue like this comes before the legislature, there is going to be a lot of conversation about it, and rightfully so. There may be some attempts to amend the bill. We’ll have to wait and see what the final result looks like.”