By Fayette County News —
ATLANTA – On Oct. 12, Georgia Watch presented its 2023 Consumer Champion awards to six advocates and legislators for their work to protect and empower consumers in Georgia, including Rep. Josh Bonner (R-Fayetteville), Defense and Veterans Affairs Committee chairman, who received the “Consumer Champion Award for Fair Lending” for his work to protect Georgians from predatory car title lending.
During the 2023 legislative session, Rep. Bonner introduced the Motor Vehicle Title Loan Act, which would require statewide regulation of car title lenders who prey on cash-strapped Georgia families, often trapping them in a cycle of debt. If the bill becomes law in 2024, it will make them subject to the state’s 60 percent cap on interest rates and regulation by the Department of Banking and Finance.
Currently, a legal loophole allows car titles to be “pawned” at interest rates as high as 300 percent.
The statewide organization Georgia Watch has long advocated for consumer protections for title loans. In May 2023, Georgia Watch commissioned a poll conducted by the University of Georgia showing that a majority (71 percent) of Georgians support the regulation of title lenders.
“Car title lenders take advantage of Georgians when they are desperate for cash,” said Liz Coyle, executive director of Georgia Watch. “Georgia Watch is proud to recognize Rep. Josh Bonner for his strong stance to ensure fair lending for Georgia’s consumers.”
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