Senate passes bill to expand short-term loans

OLYMPIA — The Washington state Senate has approved a plan that would allow consumers to get a new type of short-term loans.

Lawmakers in the Senate passed the idea by a 30-18 margin on Wednesday. Proponents of the idea say customers want more time to pay back small loans, and the bill would allow minimum repayment terms of six months.

Opponents say the idea was a new form of predatory lending that would trap consumers in debt spirals. The maximum interest rate for the loans would be 36 percent, but lenders can also add additional fees and penalties.

The bill is supported by companies like payday lender Moneytree. Lawmakers approved laws in 2009 that put restrictions on payday loans.

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