State lawmakers aim to cut payday lenders' interest rates
By Elliott Wilson
Seattle Times staff reporter
Now a legislative push to slash small-loan interest rates could put the payday lenders in their own financial jam. State House leaders say there's widespread support to crack down on the industry.
Two House bills, one for those in the military and another for everyone, would cap interest rates at 36 percent annually. The lenders currently can charge up to 390 percent annual rates.
"If it does pass, we are done," said Kevin McCarthy, owner of 22 payday lending stores called Check Masters. Lenders say they must charge rates higher than more traditional lenders such as banks because their loans are so small.