Congress Introduces SAFE Lending Act to Protect Consumers

For Immediate Release:
February 13, 2018

Contact: Adam Muhlendorf, Stop the Debt Trap Coalition
(202) 641-6216;

Consumer & Community Advocates Hail Introduction of SAFE Lending Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. – New legislation introduced in Congress today would provide new protections for consumers against high-risk online lenders, according to a coalition of consumer and community advocates from across the country.

The Stopping Abuse & Fraud in Electronic (SAFE) Lending Act of 2018 aims to close loopholes payday lenders use to trap consumers in an endless cycle of debt. More specifically, this bill would clarify that online lenders must comply with all state consumer protection laws; stop lenders from using borrowers’ bank account details to automatically withdraw funds; ban overdraft fees on prepaid cards; prohibit professional “lead generators” from trafficking payday loan applications; and, empower the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study the impact of payday lending on tribal members, among other provisions.

The SAFE Lending Act of 2018 was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representatives Suzanne Bomanici (D-OR) and Elijah Cummings (D-MD).

In the Senate, the SAFE Lending Act is cosponsored by Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tom Udall (D-NM), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Tina Smith (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Martin Heinrich (D-NM).

In the House, it is cosponsored by Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Judy Chu (D-CA), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Keith Ellison (D-MN), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL).

The Stop The Debt Trap campaign enthusiastically endorses the SAFE Lending Act. Eighty organizations involved in the Stop The Debt Trap campaign released a letter of support for the bill.

The Stop The Debt Trap campaign released the following statement:

“For too long, payday lenders have exploited loopholes in federal law to make the biggest profit possible on the backs of unknowing consumers. The SAFE Lending Act would put an end to many of the usurious activities payday lenders practice online, stop skillful marketers from tricking consumers into sharing sensitive data, and give consumers more control over their own checking account. We enthusiastically support the SAFE Lending Act of 2016 as a major improvement on protections and rights for consumers who go online to borrow money.”