Houston council passes new rules for payday, auto title lenders

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HOUSTON, TX – You can call it an early Christmas present for thousands of Houstonians who depend on getting money quickly.

The Houston City Council passed new, stricter rules for payday and auto title lenders.

“The city is a leader and I think the mayor wanted to make sure we were positioned as a leader and that we’re taking care of the most vulnerable,” said Anna Babin, President and CEO of United Way of Greater Houston.

The regulations make it possible for people to pay back their debts on payday and auto title loans without having, what some consider, outrageous fees and interest rates pile on to their bottom line.

“We want the families to have a chance to pay down their principal. And that’s what this ordinance helps them eventually do — pay down their principal to zero,” said Babin.

And, since more than two-million Texans, according to Pew, take out small-dollar loans each year, more cities, including Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and El Paso, have already jumped on the bandwagon to protect borrowers.

NewsFix reached out to four major payday loan lenders to get their thoughts on the vote, but so far, we’ve received no comments on the issue.

Either way, plenty of folks in the meantime are toasting to a brighter 2014.