Rep. Sue Schafer’s Vote May Kill Payday Lending Bill

Democratic Rep. Sue Schafer (that’s her on the left) appears to be the vote that may kill the Payday Lending reform bill we have written about repeatedly in this space (ever since Payday Lenders started spamming us).

The Payday Lending reform bill hasn’t seen much action since a flurry of activity a week ago, and we hear that has a lot to do with Schafer’s opposition after listening to former HD-24 Representative (and current state Senate candidate) Cheri Jahn, who worked to kill previous Payday Lending reform bills when she was in the legislature.

That’s right — two Democrats from a strongly-Democratic district may be primarily responsible for killing Payday Lending reform for the second time.  

44 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Danny the Red (hair) says:

    I was curious about the results of any of the Ruchman/Jahn precincts.

  2. mtboneiii says:

    If you’re one of many dems voting against a bill, how is it that you get the distinction of being THE vote that kills it?  I’m a little confused…

  3. Julie says:

    Last year, tuition equity died because of two Democrats.  This latest episode with Payday Lending is just another indication that when it comes to issues that impact low income communities of color, Democrats can’t be trusted.  

  4. I’d love to know who’s standing in the way of this besides Schafer – there has to be more than one…

  5. DevilishlyModerate says:

    It’s because they’re unsure of the unintended ramifications that this bill may have. If payday advance stores are run out of the state, poor-low income families will not have any financial options when it comes to emergencies other than overdraft fee’s or crime syndicates. I know everyone’s response to this post is going to be that payday stores will continue to make a killing, but that’s based on speculation. What are the alternatives “if” this were to happen. If someone could address this issue, I would be much happier with the legislation and i’m pretty sure Sen Schafer and Rep Jahn feel the same way.  

    • A number of credit unions have alternative loan structures, and payday loan stores shouldn’t (all) go out of business from this law – their default rates aren’t much (if any) worse than the credit card companies who “get by” under the usury laws.  Also, I don’t know how many banks offer them, but micro-loans (growing in popularity in many poorer nations) may do well for a number of these borrowers.

      If you’ve missed this, you haven’t been following the debate close enough.

      • DevilishlyModerate says:

        You’re right, I haven’t kept up with the debate, although i’d like to know what credit unions you are referring to and where they’re located. Location is vital for low income folks, that’s why payday stores are “conveniently” located near low income communities.

        Also, I’ve launched micro-loan programs in third world countries but don’t know of any in Denver, who is offering these here in Denver?

        You may be right, but a lot of this is just talk i’d like to know specifics otherwise these so-called solutions aren’t going to be a reality for those who need financing options.

        Hope you’re right Phoenix Rising…

        • The micro-loan solution may not even be available locally, but it is a viable alternative and works well around the world, as you know.

          As to credit unions, etc. it looks like many of the credit unions here in the state either offer or will be offering this year a payday loan alternative.

          The Center for Responsible Lending offers this page of alternatives to payday loans, including some that are more helpful than others.

          • DevilishlyModerate says:

            The main issue isn’t about credit unions and community banks offering relevant products, BTW- i’m a huge supporter of community financial institutions, the problem lies in the membership qualifications. Many low income folks with bad credit cannot even get their foot in the door with community financial institutions. We need something in place this year if we’re going to pass this thing…

            • Denver Community CU is open to all Denver County residents, workers, etc.  Membership is by opening a $25 savings account (one-time $5 membership fee applied on joining).  Credit Union of the Rockies (Golden, Summit and Gilpin) is similar.  Community-oriented CUs weren’t common in the past, but they’ve become more common in recent years.

              • DevilishlyModerate says:

                I’m glad to hear that PR. The question now is how do we expand that network so that it’s viable. Thoughts?? Whatever it is i’ll be a staunch supporter of the effort. Also, just to clarify so if someone were to open an account today with $25 would they be able to get a $100-200 loan tomorrow?

                • Most of the credit unions have minimum membership period requirements on loans – you can’t walk in today, put in your $25 membership share and walk out with a $200 loan tomorrow.  But I don’t think it’s too much to ask to educate people on the availability of some of these options.  Payday lenders could morph into similar arrangements – it won’t kill them if they want to make the effort to transition from predatory loan sharking into responsible community providers.

                • JMAJTU says:

                  Just to make it clear, these types of loans did not exist previous to 2001.  Low-income people were still able to meet their needs with the financial services that were offered by traditional banking institutions.  Payday loans create the problem they purport to solve.

                  Unlike overdraft fees and credit card charges, payday lenders charge their excessive fees EVERY TWO WEEKS, not just when an account is overdrawn.  

                  Data shared by the Attorney General’s office at the House State Affairs committee on HB 1351 indicated that most payday loan borrowers have these loans longer than 6 months consecutively!  This means that the lender is charging a loan origination charge every two weeks to renew the loan.  This  means a $105 fee charge on a $500 loan every two weeks.  If payday lenders were upfront about this practice, I assume most consumers would choose to take the one-time overdraft fee or an interest rate increase on their credit card instead of thousands of dollars over a longer period of time.

                  In addition to new lending products offered by credit unions and micro-lenders, traditional banking alternatives exist but the payday lending industry has worked very hard to be the only game in town.  Payday loans are a bad product that harm many people. A defective product should not be sold, even if it is “all people can afford”.  Predatory lending practices shouldn’t be the only thing that low-income people deserve.

  6. mtboneiii says:

    So I have looked up legislative records on this…

    Seems that Cheri Jahn voted IN FAVOR of 2 payday lending bills:

    HB 07-1261 and HB 08-1126

    She did vote no on HB 08-1310 along with DEMS Debbie Benefield, Jeanne Labuda, Buffie MacFadyen, Wes McKinley, Joe Rice, Jim Reisberg, and Rafael Gallegos.

    Nonetheless, it passed the House.  As I said above, the Senate Appropriations committee killed this bill.  Wouldn’t hurt Pols to try and put a few facts behind their assertions once in a while…

  7. farleftfagala says:

    Jahn isn’t even in the house in amymore and you’re still reaching for an excuse to blame her for this bill not passing?!  It takes 6 Democrats to kill a bill on the floor, 7 this time if Roberts is still with us.  

    And just so far we have Benefield and Riesberg that have pasisonately spoken on the floor against it, and no votes from last time are still around while many yes votes are not longer in the house.  McFadyen, Labuda, McKinley, and Rice are all against and that alone adds up to 6.  Even Todd is a no and Curry who is a damn cosponsor!

    In total that is 8 even without Schaefer, so to blame this even on her vote alone would be a stretch, but saying she has no mind of her own and listens to no opinion but Cheri Jahn is ridiculous!  

    • JeffcoBlue says:

      It’s called “pressure,” and I agree that it’s less fun when it happens to your friends.

      Deal with it, grow a spine and pass this popular bill, ok?

      Tell you what, why don’t I write some more diaries, “Rep. ______ __________’s Vote May Kill Payday Lending Bill.” And it’ll be just as true for each one! They can’t all be your friends, right?

  8. Pam Bennett says:

    These operations are not “loans”. Anything that keeps people trapped in a loan, can’t repay, next loan cycle is not a legitimate loan operation.

    Again, these operators did quite well at 36% before the Repubs gave them to go ahead to take in 400% or 600% non-usurious loan sharking deals.  It is not a loan.

    If it is good enough at 36% for our active duty troops it is good enough for our Colorado citizens. I think that is still too high. 25% limit would be better.

  9. TerryT says:


    Remember who elected you.  Get a backbone.

  10. LakewoodTodd says:

    Why Sue Schafer and Cheri Jahn get more criticism for being a no vote is because they come from such a safe Democratic district. Representatives like Rice and Benefield are in districts that are harder to hold so the tiniest backlash on a good bill could hurt them. There’s no reason for Schafer or Jahn to vote against this bill unless it is because they think payday lenders are doing something good. A lot of progressives disagree.

    • Steve Harvey says:

      I like Sue a lot. I think she’s an excellent person. I’m not going to speak for her, but I can imagine several possible legitimate justifications for opposing this bill, and I assume that Sue is motivated by one of them (or by one I haven’t thought of). I can respect that.

      But I encourage her, and all other members of the Democratic caucus, to support pay-day lending reform. As it currently exists, it’s a form of exploitation of the most economically vulnerable. There’s no need to permit it to persist.

      And I’m glad this thread has been as civil as it’s been. We can treat our representatives with respect even when we disagree with them, and even while we encourage them to change their mind on a vote. That’s the way it should be.

      • jadodd says:

        Here is Rep. Schafer’s response to my e-mail urging her to support the bill.

        Dear Mr. Dodd,

        Thank you for contacting me regarding HB 1351.  It has not come up for a vote on the House floor yet and six Democrats are opposed to the bill as written.  The majority of my constituents in House District 24 are also in strong opposition to HB 1351.  I have received many letters, emails, and phone calls from my constituents urging me not to support the bill because it may put them, and 1500 other employees, out of work. These employees are also provided health benefits by the PayDay companies.

        Pay Day lending is a legal business, regulated by the Colorado Attorney General. I think the passage of HB 1351 will do more harm than good, forcing borrowers to go to more risky and unregulated sources for higher interest loans of up to 1000%.

        I appreciate you taking the time to express your views.



        She says a majority of her constituents oppose the bill.  That is a surprise to me.  

        • RedGreen says:

          work at payday lending stores, the way she describes it. I find that hard to believe.

          And she’s identified even “more risky and unregulated sources for higher interest loans” than payday lenders, charging “up to 1000%” interest? What are those, actual loan sharks? If she’s got a problem with usurious lenders, why isn’t she going after these other sources? Sounds like a smokescreen.

    • tallport says:

      It is not just about political risk.   They are not elected with the sole purpose of being reelected.  They are elected to stand up for Democratic values and act in the best interests of the people who put them in office.  Payday lending is legalized loan sharking, so if some of them go under, so be it. 39% is a more than a fair interest rate. It is a shame Sue supports these payday lenders.  

  11. tmgt says:

    While we’re piling on, I’d like to add a few other businesses that need to go too!

    I want all Democratic Legislators to end the Casino Businesses! I mean, they serve no legitimate purpose whatsoever.  All the money spent there could better go to improving the world!

    Since we’re at it, I want all Democratic Legislators to pledge to end pornography. EVERYONE knows that the industry serves only to exploit women and children.  It needs to stop, and I mean TODAY!

    Finally, I want an irrevocable pledge from all Democratic Legislators that they will put an immediate end to the Insurance Industry Parasites.

    Anyone not willing to sign a pledge on these issues needs to leave public office immediately!  

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