Sept. 22, 2014 07:13 PM

After failing to pass reform legislation aimed at the payday loan industry last year, Sen. Ben Nevers, D-Bogalusa, said he is considering bringing a bill again but is still on the fence.

 

After failing to pass reform legislation aimed at the payday loan industry last year, Sen. Ben Nevers, D-Bogalusa, said he is considering bringing a bill again but is still on the fence.

"I haven't decided yet," he said. "There's an audit advisory meeting I want to attend in October that should give me a better idea. I've been told there are strides being made in monitoring the industry. I'm trying to listen to all sides right now and figure out what is best."

Nevers doesn't sound eager to repeat the huge lobbying battle that was waged during the spring session. Yet he is still interested in learning more about the issues of repeat lenders, meaning those consumers who repeatedly take out payday loans, and what reporting requirements look like.

Right now, local-level governments, like the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Council, are taking turns looking into the industry, but there's no telling where that might all end up.

Meanwhile, the industry has formed a new trade group, the Louisiana Payday Loan Association. Lobbyist Danny Ford, a spokesman for the association, said members will be meeting soon to discuss a 2015 legislative agenda and to address potential regulations that may be handed down by the federal government.

"But it's too early to tell what kind of strategy we might have for next year," he said.

Ford pointed out that the industry supported HB 766 by Rep. Erich Ponti, R-Baton Rouge, during the most recent session to give the state the ability to regulate online lending; establish debt consolidation and extended payment plans; and to abolish delinquency fees.