The recent Bexar Towing headlines, part of the ongoing courthouse fight over the City's 10-year-old towing-fee cap, prefigure another battle that's about to earn its headlines: District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal's request to place restrictions on payday and title-loan lenders who operate in the city. Bernal filed a CCR in June asking City staff to develop an ordinance that would limit the amount of money lenders can loan based on income and, in the case of title loans, the value of the vehicle. Also likely to pop up in the new restrictions: a requirement that rollovers reduce the loan principal by 25 percent, and a limit on the number of loan renewals/rollovers the creditors can extend. Industry reps have also heard that Bernal would like disclosure materials that must be provided to borrowers to be offered in Spanish as well as English.
Meanwhile, a familiar tactic is taking shape: Protestations that the local crackdowns – San Antonio's new regulations would follow Austin and Dallas – are unnecessary because the industry is going to voluntarily approach the legislature for consistent statewide regulations (ah, yes, the legislature, where we're told Spanish-language requirements were quashed last time around). This will sound familiar to anyone who remembers the City Hall debates over the texting-while-driving ban and the expanded smoking ordinance.
How will the local chambers of commerce handle the issue?