In its latest callous display of disregard for Ohio consumers, the predatory payday loan industry again has snubbed its nose at reforms and has stonewalled the political process toward that much-needed end.
Such behavior is hardly surprising, however, given the industry's long track record of shrewdly manipulating the system to enrich itself at the expense of hundreds of thousands of vulnerable Ohioans.
For just as long, we've been in the front lines of reform advocates, calling for an end to the industry's nefarious practices of charging stratospherically high interest rates and fees for short-term loans. Those rates weigh in at a jaw-dropping average of 591 percent per annum.
Payday lenders' latest hijinks unfolded last week, when a group of them was scheduled to meet with state legislators working on provisions of the latest pending reform measure in the Ohio General Assembly, House Bill 123.
The lenders, however, never showed up, according to the watchdog group Ohioans for Payday Loan Reform.
Of course, it does not take a rocket scientist to understand why they may have chosen to play hooky: The lenders appear to have no interest whatsoever in meaningful reforms at reining in interest rates that cost Ohioans an estimated $205,479 each day.
Given that backdrop, representatives and senators should not waste any additional valuable time trying to court uncooperative lenders for constructive input. It's already past time to schedule public hearings on HB 123 and move the bill toward adoption.
-- The Youngstown Vindicator