5 questions with…… Lisa Furlong, Chair of South Dakotan’s for Fair Lending

lisa_and_pat

You won’t find this at KELOLAND or in the Argus Leader. This is the interview you’ve been waiting for. I had the opportunity yesterday to sit down and spend some time with Lisa Furlong, chair of South Dakotan’s for Fair Lending.

And as opposed to the type of person her opponents are making her out to be, guess what? She’s sweet, unassuming, and as nice as she could be. In other words, she’s your mom.

FIVE QUESTIONS WITH SOUTH DAKOTANS FOR FAIR LENDING CHAIR LISA FURLONG

I understand that this is the first time you’ve ever personally gotten involved in an effort like this. What made you decide to do this and is it what you expected it to be?

Well, this type of involvement is pretty new to me. I’m no politician or professional at this sort of thing. I just want to do what’s right for South Dakota.

I am a single mother of two teenagers, I work hard to provide for them. We attend church every week. I believe that everyone has a right to be treated fairly. People should have some sort of an expectation that there will be safeguards in place to protect them from unfair lending practices. At the same time though, there are those of us that might need somewhere to turn…you know…to cover things when times get tough – a kid’s broken arm or a car repair, for example. I don’t see why there can’t be some sort of compromise here. As a single mom I understand financial difficulties. I would hate to have families in a pinch have less options to help find a way to climb their way out.

What would your proposed measure do and how is it different from other payday lending measures being proposed?

Our measure strikes the right balance in protecting people from predatory lending and preserving free market principles to ensure their access to credit. In fact, many would say our measure goes even further than that of the proposed 36% cap. This is a constitutional amendment, so it will be harder for politicians to change down the road. It is also an 18% cap, which is half of what the other proposal is asking for. I think it is very important to point out that the 36% cap proposal is a change in state statutes, which the legislature can overturn. However, our measure places greater protections for borrowers in South Dakota by putting an 18% cap on interest rates right in the constitution – making it much more difficult for special interests and politicians to undermine or weaken it. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the 36% cap.

Is this a “phony” or “fake” petition as has been suggested by those pushing competing measures, as well as some in the press?

Frankly, I think that is offensive. Our measure is thoughtful, reasoned, and just as real, if not more so, than any others out there. I’m not an Obama operative or a politician like the ringleaders of the other effort. I’m just a working mom. We have as much right under our state constitution to put our ballot measure before the people of South Dakota as anyone else. For anyone to say otherwise is somewhat arrogant and just plain wrong. I have not questioned the motives of others circulating competing measures. It is the South Dakota way to stand up for yourself and I think that’s what I am doing here.

There have been news stories recently about a man, “Deacon Pete,” or also known as “Floyd Pickett.” Leaders of a similar measure to yours have made claims that this man has been sent in from out of state to disrupt the business of those seeking to cap payday loans. What are your thoughts on this situation and has Mr. Pickett attempted to interfere with the efforts of your group at all?

You know, I have seen news reports on all that…and if what they are saying is true I…I think it is very unfortunate. I think it is very important that South Dakotans make the decisions here, not folks from out of state. I don’t know much more than what’s been on tv, but I’ve watched the same circus that everyone else has. And I do know that our supporters have been heckled and made to feel intimidated when they were trying to collect signatures at the fair, but I have no idea if that was by the same people as this guy…Pickett or Pete or whatever…or even supporters of other committees. I really don’t think it is clear who is behind it all or what the point of it is, but the whole thing seems like a big distraction. A big…unfortunate…distraction.

I know that you have put out quite a few statements as issues have come up, I know this because I am on the press list and receive your statements as I assume the rest of the media in the state do, but it seems that you don’t get the same level of coverage or deference as the competing ballot committee does. Do you agree with this assessment and, if so, why do you think this is?

Look, I get it. The mainstream media wants to sensationalize this story because a good fight sells. It’s certainly a bit frustrating to see so many of the news organizations take the side of one loud voice and report it as fact, often times without even mentioning that there’s another side or a different view. I think we are all used to the liberal media bias that exists these days. I guess it’s just part of what comes with this sort of thing nowadays and is what it is.

I certainly appreciate you for giving us a chance to talk about this effort though, Pat!

And Thank you for the interview Lisa. And for those of you who would like to take a look at the measure that started circulation today – you can read below – PP:

18_paydayloan.pdf

37 Replies to “5 questions with…… Lisa Furlong, Chair of South Dakotan’s for Fair Lending”

  1. anon

    I suspect nobody will be able to do it, but someone should follow the money… She’s not doing this because she’s Mom and likes apple pie and payday lending. She’s doing it because she’s either getting paid directly or indirectly from the industry.

    1. jimmy james

      I have ONE question for this mom and her lender friends. Why are you harassing your political opponents?

      I don’t care if Hildebrand is a liberal. They are way out of line with what they are doing to him. I don’t recall ever seeing anything like this in South Dakota.

      1. Anon

        Ask Hilde about some of the stuff he did in the early 2000s Senate races. He employed similar tactics

        1. jimmy james

          Yea. She “doesn’t know much more than is on TV”??

          And calling the fake petition a “fake petition” is offensive to her. One side of this debate has an honesty problem. Mom’s side.

  2. Steve Hickey

    Only softballs. Just a mom? Deja Vu reporting here. Bosworth for months here was just a mom trying to do the right thing for the state. Free pass on the real questions.

    Who is behind her? We’ve seen these alternative measures quickly pop up in other states to confuse voters – who wrote the measure and how did they find you? Functionally your measure will result in payday/title lenders insulating themselves from additional regulation in the future. Why treat them special? Functionally your measure won’t change payday/title lending in any way. True or false? What was up with her circulator threatening a Sioux Falls reporter? How is she funding these circulators out working before they even have and approved petition?

    1. Please shut up

      So, I guess Hickey is the only person God allows to have an opinion and take part in the political system. You tell her Hickey- How dare someone file for a ballot measure especially when its a better idea than yours!

    2. Anonymous

      We know who is funding Hickey. It’s Herb Sandler, the king of the sub-prime mortgage who made 2.5 BILLION from the housing market crash:http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1877351_1877350_1877343,00.html

      Sandler has given over 650 million to democrat causes including MoveOn.org and Center for Responsible Lending, Hmmmm that sounds a lot like Hickey’s ballot question committee; SD for Responsible Lending.

      How much is Hickey being paid to be a shill for the Center for Responsible Lending?

      1. Steve Hickey

        BS. Never heard the name. I’m a big donor for this. No one around me is getting any money from anywhere. Nothing from out of state yet to our campaign.

  3. Anonymous

    That petition looks real to me. I wonder if Hickey and Hildebrand want to update all the BS they have been spreading.

  4. Steve Hickey

    Just a mom. That’s nice. No questions about her previous involvement in the industry or present associations in the industry. An enormously complex and controversial and high-stakes issue and all we get is: just a mom.

    Until today there was no petition. The petition today is legal. It’s still a decoy because it has no intent of capping the rate at 18%. And every other state these are the tactics to get people to say I’ve already signed and create confusion in the electorate.

    The 18% is just an attempt to get a voter who hates payday lending to try and cap it even more Not realizing the 18% initiative Will make it all worse. It’s brilliant actually when you think of it.

  5. Sodak No.1

    No doubt the 18% is a political decoy… It is a good one though…Kudos for her for coming up with this…Pretty smart mom. If both efforts get on the ballot she will draw a lot of votes from low information voters who will look at their ballots and say to themselves ,,,18 percent ? that’s better than 36%,,,, She has a good chance of pulling this off.

  6. Charlie

    Interesting question you raise, Pastor Hickey, and I’m glad you did. Was actually wondering the same about your group. You all seem to have quite a bit of expendable cash over there in that big, pretty glasshouse. Nice new tshirts, paid signature collectors, a fancy website, and I’m sure the list goes on.

    Still, not a word about where all this money comes from and why they’re providing you this financial support. So, who is it? Come on, Pastor…you’re on your way outta town anyways…you can tell us. At least give your friendly neighbors here in South Dakota the courtesy of knowing who’s bought and paid for you?

    Then again, I guess that’s kind of “your thing,” isn’t it? Question the motives of others and project your own twisted thinking on them…throw stones at anyone and everyone…all the while, and not very well I might add, attempting to distract from your own wrongdoing. Must be exhausting…

  7. Misty

    Our constitution should NOT be changed for this. There is no reason for our state constitution to mention payday lending/interest rates. I will vote against this terrible constitutional amendment as well as the other ballot initiative.

    1. Sodak No.1

      I agree with you Misty.. One measure destroys an industry and the other changes the State Constitution… Both should go down to defeat.

  8. Anonymous

    Hickey does have a history of hypocrisy especially when it comes to throwing out illegal allegations.

  9. The One Who Knocks

    This proposal would impose no rate limit if the rate is agreed to in writing. I’m admittedly ignorant about the industry, but I assume all payday lenders require the borrower to sign a document containing the terms of the loan, correct? Therefore, this proposal would change absolutely nothing, right?

    Is it common practice that these so-called predatory lenders don’t require the terms to be in writing signed by the borrower?

  10. El Rayo X

    I don’t see the words “short term lender” or “payday lending” in this amendment. Does this mean that all lenders are restricted to 18% unless I agree to another rate? Are credit card rates covered by this amendment?
    Cap or no cap, the loop hole in this amendment is that if you want the loan, you agree to pay the rate the lender is asking.
    In 1980, at the peak of the Jimmy Carter administration, if you wanted a used car loan, rates were around 21%. If there would have been a cap back then, you still would have had to pay the going rate.

      1. springer

        Please explain how the 18% is a decoy and meaningless. I am not in favor of amending the constitution for this but want to understand.

        1. Sodak No.1

          The 18% is meaningless because you can pick any arbitrary number and put it in this amendment… You could make it 1% it doesn’t matter…. Nobody gets a loan without signing for it and this amendment says that if a person signs for a loan it can be at any percentage rate that was agreed on…It is not an 18% cap… It is a decoy because if both measures are on the ballot then the low information voter will look at the rates… one 36% and one 18% not realizing unless they read further that the 36% is a cap and 18% is not a cap and thinking that a cap is a good idea will vote for the 18% because it is lower. It really is brilliant… Hope this helps…….

  11. Emmett

    This isn’t an issue I ever thought I would form an opinion on but the more I hear from all sides the more I tend to favor payday lenders. Aside from Steve and Steve’s crusade to use the ballot process to bully an industry out of biz because of their “moral” objections, and then the other side’s circus of a defense to send protestors into Steve’s shop.. it’s all really what it is: a circus and a distraction from the real debate.

    What I really want is to hear Steve admit that this is about using the ballot to protect stupid people from their own stupidity. The problems from payday loans don’t stem from people who pay back there loan, the very next pay day like they agreed to, but rather the people who were either to stupid or to irresponsible to follow the terms of the agreement they agreed to in the first place. I want to hear why it’s justified to pass legislation for the purpose of denying people their own free will to make a decision for the sake of “protecting them”. The precedence we’re setting here then is that its the Govs job to protect people from their own stupid decisions, and it’s more the precedence rather than this specific issue that I’m concerned about. I might be a Libertarian but regardless I’m just sick of the liberal movement’s attempt to legislate stupidity. This sounds a lot like NY’s ban on soda pop among other big-gov regs that are becoming more popular among Hilde’s crowd.

    If two adults, or an individual and a company for that matter, want to consent to a loan under any terms then by any means I have no reason to legislate or bully them out of that decision, because I will respect their own personal individual free will to engage in the financial agreements that they seek for themselves. Why is the gov in charge of protecting people from their own stupidity?

    Cheers to another good story on DWC!! It’s funny how I hate Pat’s tactics half the time but then sure enough, when I see Kelo and the mainstream spewing out completely bias rediculous “news” then I check this blog I happen to see Pat is the one reporting both sides somewhat fairly…. for a blog lol

  12. Troy Jones

    Jimmy James,

    I’ve not seen a lick of honesty from the other petition proponents either. The most honest thing Steve has said since he launched this is saying “It’s brilliant actually when you think of it” because he sees they are just doing it better than him.

  13. springer

    I am totally confused, as I think are most South Dakotans, about which proposal is which and who is backing which and what they would actually do – cap or no cap actually, high cap vs low cap. I’m going to vote against both of them simply because of all this confusion. And I really don’t like changing the Constitution to favor one or the other. Before all this I was actually against high payday loans, but this circus has turned me off completely, so I am a firm NO to signing a petition or voting for it on a ballot if either of them ever makes it. I hope other people will refuse to sign too.

  14. Spencer

    This really boils down to five different manifestations of the same problem: the phony bankrolled 36% liberals, the phony bankrolled 18% liberals, the phony bankrolled protesting liberals, the phony offended liberal café owner, and his phony yuppie liberal friends. Are you starting to see the common thread in this problem?

  15. Outside Perspective

    The most valuable comments here are Steve’s critique of Pat’s ridiculously biased softball interview and Emmett’s critique of Steve’s view of the role of government.

    We’d all be better off if the Steves and the Emmetts of the world were allowed to have an honest debate without interference from crooked liars like Lisa Furlong.

    1. Anonymous

      If steve and emmet had an honest debate? Hickey can’t have an honest debate on this. He’s hopelessly biased, and anyone on the other side is evil.

  16. Emmett

    What this boils down to is the anti-payday side isn’t willing to admit even a very basic concept of what they’re trying to push on voters, which is this being a regulation to protect people from themselves. Stop blaming the lenders for setting the rates so high, and start blaming the idiots who agree to those rates and don’t stick to the terms they agreed to, making their own *personal* situations much worse. It’s the borrowers fault for “getting trapped” because they’re the ones breaching their own agreement if they don’t pay it back on time. Stupidity? Irresponsibility? maybe both – but If I’m an adult of age and I can read what I’m signing then who is to tell me I can’t take out a loan under ANY TERMS that I agree to. If I fail to hold up my end of the agreement, including paying it back on time, then I must deal with the consequences that I signed up for. Am I libertarian? yes. Is freedom to make my own conscious decisions over how to live my life a radical concept? Well when you’re talking about abortion or gay rights with liberals then it’s not so radical after all, but as soon as you’re talking about businesses making profits it’s all of a sudden a crazy position to be in favor of freedom. This is liberal hypocrisy all around, the liberals are promoting a society that makes government our god and protects us from our own stupidity, as opposed to promoting personal accountability and responsibility.