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State Sen. Steve Farley is one of many speaking out against a bill that would allow lenders to charge higher interest on larger loans. (KTAR Photo/Bob MCClay)

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Senate Finance Committee is considering a bill that would let lending companies charge 36 percent interest on loans of $3,000 or less.

Right now, they can only charge that amount on loans of $1,000 or less.

Opponents of House Bill 2526 spoke out against it Wednesday at the Arizona Capitol Building. State Sen. Steve Farley said the bill is supported by Springleaf Financial, which is a subsidiary of the AIG insurance company.

"It seems to me that AIG, which was one of the beneficiaries of the bailout, and one of the main organizations behind our worldwide economic crisis, is looking to increase their profits at the expense of modest income Arizonans," he said. "It's one company behind this. They want to double their profits. It's that simple."

State Rep. Debbie McCune Davis agreed with Farley.

"Our concern, as legislators, is to make sure that the changes in this statute provide protections for consumers," she said. "Without that assurance, we meet their (AIG's) needs, but not that of consumers."

Glendale resident John Bernall said that HB 2526 would benefit lenders while hurting senior citizens and others who don't qualify for other loans.

"We're going to raise the fees, and the legislature wants to pass this kind of bill? It's immoral and unethical."

The bill has already passed the House.

Bob McClay, Reporter

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