Opinion:SB 57 is an option needed to help small business
I am a freelance computer consultant from Manchester and I’ve been on the front lines of our recession. I have struggled to get by at times like many of my colleagues in the consulting business. Freelancers and other small businesses deal what we call “slow money,” or delays in payment for their services. But when money is slow, there is still a need to get things done day-to-day. We need to pay ourselves and pay our expenses just like any other business, but the lag between the money we are owed and the money we receive can create a tremendous void. That is when a title loan can help.
I’m glad a title loan was available to me a few years ago when I needed it most. Unfortunately, this is not the case in New Hampshire today, because the legislature effectively banned title lending by capping the interest rate so low that lenders cannot afford to offer these short-term loans. Title loans can help many people fill that same void that I went through. That is why the legislature should override the veto of Senate Bill 57.
Collateral-based loans over a short term are a good option. Of course, it is important to be self-disciplined and pay it back in a timely fashion. Title loans are not meant to be a long-term solution and are not for everyone. They are designed to be a tool that allows you to keep going when all other options are exhausted. When you face a tough situation and maybe your credit is not what it used to be – where do you go? What do you do? What are your choices? I didn’t have any other choices a few years back. I couldn’t borrow money from family and friends. I am my own person and it was my responsibility to take care of my family. Because I only needed a small loan for a short period of time, the banks and credit unions wouldn’t consider me.
In my situation, I decided to use a title loan. My company hadn’t been paid for approximately five months of services. I still had clients and plenty of work, but some of my clients were struggling as well and were having trouble turning around my invoices. The title loan was a temporary solution that helped me through a tough time and kept me going. It prevented me from going any further into debt, and saw me through to the other side.
I went to a title loan office in Manchester. They were a breath of fresh air – both friendly and professional. They didn’t make me feel embarrassed – they were on my side. The staff explained the title loan process very clearly. I understood the risks, and when I had questions, they gave me straight answers. They were flexible. They treated me like a real person, not just another borrower or some account number. They respected and understood the situation I was in.
Fortunately today, things are looking better for me. But if I needed assistance again, I would want to use a title loan. In fact, it is an option I would recommend to others.
This is why I am telling my story. As someone who has relied on title loans, I think everyone deserves this option and this is why I believe our legislators should override the veto of SB 57. Today, as we still struggle in a tough economy, the ability to move our country forward is on the shoulders of small businesses. Small businesses need as many options as possible. Whether we use it or not, title lending should be one of those options.
As legislators consider whether to allow title lending back in New Hampshire, I would ask them to walk a mile in my shoes. Don’t buy the doom-and-gloom, “cycle of debt,” worst-case scenario stories told by opponents. Get to know real people like me who have benefitted from title loans and have used them responsibly. Thousands of title loans were written in NH with very few complaints – so what is the problem? Rather than attempt to protect citizens from themselves, legislators should learn the truth about title loans and the people who use them. I am sure you will agree that title loans, while not for everyone, are a vital solution for many. We are adults and educated consumers, and we can decide for ourselves if a title loan is an appropriate solution to the various problems we encounter. Just give us the option. Please vote to override the veto of SB 57.