Sharks attacked! 


Florida's car-title loan companies can charge 264 percent interest now, but proposed legislation in Tallahassee would ban the practive entirely - or at least reduce the interest to less than 30 percent. On Jan. 9, the Florida Vehicle Loan Task Force, a legislature-empaneled group looking into the title loan business, voted 4-3 to recommend that law-makers repeal the 1993 statute allowing the companies to do business in Florida. Advocates for the poor and legal aid lawyers say the businesses victimize low-income folks, and a class action lawsuit is in the works ("You're not a loan, sharks," Nov. 21).;;The Florida house Bill, sponsored by Ralph livingston (R-Fort Meyers), is paired with an identical Senate version by Sen. Jack Latvala (R-Palm Harbor) that would ban the practice. Another Senate bill, by Charles Wiliams (D-Live Oak), would sharply reduce the amount of interest that could be charged and put car title lenders under the supervision of the state department of banking. ;;The title loan industry dominated the task force hearings so their opponents were surprised by the recommendation and legislation. Should be an interesting battle to watch in the legislature.

More by Ericson, Edward Jr.

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