Editor,

I am writing to urge all residents in the 18th Illinois House District to vote for Patrick Keenan-Devlin.

I have been really impressed with Patrick’s energy, enthusiasm and passion for service. Patrick is dedicated to pushing for reforms that will truly help people.

One issue he’s been fighting for proves his determination to do what’s right: regulation of the payday loan industry. These are the storefront operations that charge very high interest rates — up to 700 percent when borrowers roll over a loan. Borrowers who turn to payday lenders are typically low-income people with few assets. They are unable to secure normal, lower-interest-rate forms of credit. Since the payday lending operations charge high interest rates and do nothing to encourage savings or asset accumulation, they have the effect of siphoning off the assets of low-income communities. They often prey on the low-income elderly who survive only on their Social Security checks.

Borrowers may not understand that the high interest rates offered at these businesses are likely to trap them in a “debt-cycle,” in which they have to repeatedly renew the loan and pay associated fees every two weeks until they can finally save enough to pay off the principal and get out of debt. Payday lending unfairly takes advantage of the poor, compared to middle class borrowers who pay 25 percent or so on their credit cards.

Last year, an effort was made in the Illinois legislature to regulate the payday loan industry. Patrick fought hard for this bill. But the industry won out again when the House Executive Committee rejected a bill that would have established reasonable interest rate caps and fair finance charges on these largely unregulated loans.  

Patrick has made it a priority to fight for new regulations if he is elected to serve in the Illinois statehouse. 

Please vote in the primary election on Feb. 2 for Patrick Keenan-Devlin. He is the kind of caring, dedicated and reform-minded person we need in our state legislature.

Hillary Schab