Argus Leader, My Voice: Limiting interest rates enhances freedom

By Reynold Nesiba, South Dakotans for Responsible Lending

"The very philosophy of the ballot committee — on which I serve as treasurer and which is co-chaired by former Republican legislator Steve Hickey and long-time Democratic activist and Josiah’s coffeehouse and café proprietor, Steve Hildebrand — asserts that the citizens, not the payday lenders, should decide what rules govern small dollar loans in South Dakota. We believe a majority of voters in this state want the poor and vulnerable among us to be “free” from the oppressive terms currently offered by predatory lenders. According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, the average interest rate on payday loans in South Dakota is 574 percent. Our “free” and almost entirely unregulated market for small dollar loans offers products that far too often serve become debt traps for those least able to escape. What is advertised as a two-week or four-week loan product quickly becomes a multiple-month and too often a multiple-year series of loans when the borrower is unable to pay off the full amount when it is due."