Welcom to Shark Week 2024, a designation penned by Discovery ChannelIn years past, the Virginia Poverty Law Center has used this week to call out all the loan sharks attacking Virginia borrowers.  There are still a few loan sharks out there in Virginia waters but thanks to VPLC and the Virginia Partnership to Encourage Responsible Lending and all our allies (particularly Pew Charitable Trusts), the sharks are under control, and it is safer to go into the water.

Virginia’s payday and car title loan sharks left Virginia after the passage of the Fairness in Lending Act in 2020 (thank you Virginia General Assembly and particularly Senator Mamie Locke and Senator Lamont Bagby!).   Internet loan sharks are now covered by the Act and have mostly ceased attacking Virginia borrowers due to the Act and also because of the great work of our litigation partners Kelly Guzzo and Consumer Litigation Associates…..Virginians lawsuits bring $1B in settlements with online lenders.

Jay Speer, VPLC Executive Director

It’s safer to go into the water but sharks are still lurking.  Loan sharks still circle Virginia waters looking for loopholes.  Workplace payday lenders (who call themselves earned wage access) have been trying to get legislation passed in Virginia to exempt themselves from Virginia’s usury laws and the Fairness in lending Act. VPLC and our allies have, so far, been able to stop them but we need our legislators to hold firm.   A new loan shark, called probate lenders, tried to ignore our usury laws by claiming they were not offering loans!  Thanks again to the Virginia General Assembly, and especially Delegate Carrie Coyner, for passing legislation to put a stop to this.  And there are still some internet loan sharks looking for Virginia victims—so don’t go into the water at dusk and don’t borrow from any company that does not have a license from the Virginia Bureau of Financial Institutions.

Pease tell your legislators:  Don’t give loan sharks exemptions to the Fairness in Lending Act.