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Opponents of interest rate change bill speak out

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.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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