We need your testimony on Wednesday, June 2 when the DC City Council's Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs holds its public hearing on a bill to give communities a voice in whether a pawnshop can locate here.
To testify in person, contact Davida Crockett at firstname.lastname@example.org (724-8052). Include your name, address, telephone number, and the name of your organization, if applicable. If you can't appear in person, please send a letter stating your views to Ms. Crockett at the same address. It's very important that your views are on the record.
Pawnbrokers have hired lobbying firms to fight this legislation. We need a strong presence on June 2.
The two bills, both written by Ward 4 Council Member Muriel Bowser, are:
"The Predatory Pawnbroker Regulation Act of 2010” (B18-0715)
Here are some points you can use in your testimony and some background:
When introduced, the legislation focused on capping maximum annual interest rates at 24 percent for all pawnshops, using the enacted payday loan bill as an example. It also puts pawnshops under the jurisdiction of the City's Department of Securities, Insurance and Banking.
The temporary bill, now in effect for about eight months, added something else. It gives each Advisory Neighborhood Commission "great weight" in the issuance of licenses. Also, interest rates are capped at 24 percent, but ONLY for licensees who apply after April 1, 2010.
Here are our main points:
► ANCs should have a voice in the issuance of pawnbroker licenses. Pawnshops, like alcohol businesses, can have a negative impact on a neighborhood.
► Maximum annual interest rates, including fees, should be capped at a uniform 24 percent for all pawnshops. Loan rates are very high -- typically 60 percent or more per year. We've been told that pawnshops can operate profitably at 24 percent.
There is virtually no risk for the pawnbroker. Borrowers leave valuable property as collateral for the loan, and the pawnbroker determines collateral's value.
► Pawnbroker loans need to be regulated by the D.C. Department of Securities, Insurance and Banking. Consumers need this protection.
► Pawnbrokers must be required to participate in the Metropolitan Police Department's computerized stolen property data base. Right now, participation is voluntary.
I can be reached at ANCSaraGreen@yahoo.com or at 202 829-8802
(202-724-8052 for more information)
To The DC City Council:
Please support permanent legislation that incorporates provisions of the "The Predatory Pawnbroker Regulation and Community Notification Temporary Act of 2010," (B18-0746).
The bill will not ban pawnshops, but will give Advisory Neighborhood Commissions "great weight" in the issuance of licenses. This way, communities will have a necessary voice in where pawnshops locate.
Also, the bill gives the DC Department of Securities, Insurance and Banking jurisdiction over these lenders. And all pawnbrokers should be required to participate in MPD's computerized stolen property data base.
In addition, the bill should cap maximum annual interest rates, including fees, at 24 percent annually. Today's rates -- usually 60 percent or more -- are too high. There should be a uniform maximum interest rate for every operating pawnbroker and every loan. Twenty-four percent is still a high interest rate, and we've been told that pawnshops can operate profitably at 24 percent.
These are very safe loans for the pawnbroker. The pawnbroker has collateral for 100 percent of the loan -- and he determines the value of the collateral.
Organization Name (if applicable).