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Lawmakers Vote to Allow Higher Interest Rates

 Lawmakers in the state House have approved a bill that would allow companies offering small loans to increase their interest rates. Jessica Jones reports the companies often target military customers. 

 Right now companies providing consumer finance loans cannot charge more than a 54 percent APR to customers. But House Bill 810 would allow lenders to charge more. Republican Representative Jeff Collins of Rocky Mount says the cost of business is high and lending companies should be allowed to adjust their rates. 

Jeff Collins: "All these folks are asking for is have the amounts of money brought in the 21st century and not be where they were in 1983 which I would think a very reasonable thing."

But Democratic representative Rick Glazier of Fayetteville says raising interest rates that are already high would trap young lenders in a spiral of debt. He says he's not alone in thinking so.

Rick Glazier: "When you have every single military entity in the country opposed to this bill, you have every consumer group opposed, and you have every elected official who's taken a position in the government who's looked at this bill opposed, it ought to be giving us pause."

The measure now goes to the Senate. 

Jessica Jones covers both the legislature in Raleigh and politics across the state. Before her current assignment, Jessica was given the responsibility to open up WUNC's first Greensboro Bureau at the Triad Stage in 2009. She's a seasoned public radio reporter who's covered everything from education to immigration, and she's a regular contributor to NPR's news programs. Jessica started her career in journalism in Egypt, where she freelanced for international print and radio outlets. After stints in Washington, D.C. with Voice of America and NPR, Jessica joined the staff of WUNC in 1999. She is a graduate of Yale University.
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