KELO Radio: Hildebrand outlines payday loan measures, IM 21 and Amendment U

Democratic activist and Sioux Falls businessman Steve Hildebrand joined forces with former state Rep. Steve Hickey, a pastor and conservative Republican, to bring out Initiated Measure 21 on capping payday lending rates at 36 percent.

Steve H. spoke with Greg today about why voters should support IM 21 and reject the payday loan sponsored Amendment U.

Hildebrand said payday loans average over 500 percent interest in the state, the third highest in the country. He says poor people need consumer protection.

He said that Amendment U is just a way to confuse voters about the issue.

Initiated Measure 21 Caps South Dakota’s Interest Rate At 36 Percent

A coalition of South Dakota churches and concerned citizens are backing a proposal to cap interest rates at 36 percent. Supporters say it would rope in payday loan companies that charge upwards of 500 percent on short term loans.

Steve Hildebrand is co-chair of the bi-partisan group South Dakotans for Responsible Lending. He says South Dakota has the highest interest rates in the country. He says IM 21 is a happy medium for payday lenders and those needing a loan.

PBS NewsHour: Fighting the debt trap of triple-digit interest rate payday loans

Payday loans are supposed to be a short-term quick fix for those who can't get traditional credit. But the loans are rarely actually short-term, and borrowers frequently need to take out a second loan to pay off the first. Special correspondent Andrew Schmertz reports from South Dakota, where some are trying to cap triple-digit interest rates that many struggle to pay.

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."

The Atlantic: The Odd Couple Fighting Against Predatory Payday Lending

The two Steves sat down at Josiah's Coffee House and Café, the shop owned by Hildebrand. They make an odd couple. Hickey is pastor of the Church at the Gate and a conservative state legislator; Hildebrand was the deputy national campaign director for Obama’s 2008 campaign. But they soon found they had something in common: concern over payday lending. Many of Hildebrand's employees had taken out payday loans, and Hildebrand often offered them zero-interest loans to help them escape. Hickey said people in his church had often faced the same struggle. He had similarly aided people trapped in the cycle of debt that payday lending creates.

Washington Post: Bipartisan team aims to curb South Dakota’s payday lending industry

Steve Hildebrand is one of the Democratic Party’s best organizers. He’s worked in senior positions for former Vice President Al Gore, then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D) and President Obama’s 2008 campaign.

Steve Hickey is one of the most conservative members of the South Dakota legislature. He’s a pastor from Sioux Falls who has earned news coverage for his deeply socially conservative views on same-sex marriage and religion’s place in daily life.

On the face of it, they don’t have much in common. But they both think payday lenders that charge high interest rates for short-term loans do more harm than good, and now they’re teaming up to try to bring down the industry.