Rep. Rev. Steve Hickey and politicoffee-maker Steve Hildebrand haven’t even started circulating their petition to place an interest-rate cap on the 2016 ballot, but the lending industry is already mobilizing against them to protect predatory payday lenders. Secretary of State Shantel Krebs has posted the statement of organization for the “Committee for Regulated Lending,” a ballot question committee created by Pierre lawyers Brett Koenecke, counsel and lobbyist for the South Dakota Banking Association, and Doug Abraham, who lobbied on behalf of the Consumer Lending Alliance to kill Rep. Hickey’s 2014 attempt to further regulate payday lending.
Koenecke and Abraham declare on the committee statement of organization that the purpose of the Committee for Regulated Lending is “Keeping financial options available for South Dakotans.” It sounds like they will expand on blog reader and financial expert Troy Jones’s argument that payday lenders, who would not be able to conduct business as they know it under the 36% interest rate cap Hickey and Hildebrand have in mind, provide an important and useful financial service to low-income folks. We hear here the same thinking behind the youth minimum wage: in South Dakota, giving people more opportunities means making them poorer.
Follow the Money says the Consumer Lending Alliance has given $1.75 million to hundreds of candidates and organizations nationwide over the last fifteen years to defend payday lenders from sane and healthy regulations. They appear not to have contributed to any South Dakota candidates yet, but the formation of this ballot question committee suggests the Consumer Lending Alliance is getting ready to send some money South Dakota’s way.