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Byline: MATTHEW MOGUL
Hoping to address widespread abuses in the credit counseling industry, lawmakers in Columbia have drafted a bill that would require people in the business to be licensed by the state.
Sen. Joel Lourie, D-Richland, is expected to introduce the legislation next week, saying some sort of debt-management regulation is needed. Lourie believes his Statehouse colleagues feel the same way, and sees his effort as a natural follow-up to the state's 2003 predatory lending act, a law that protects mainly low-income and elderly customers from high-cost loans.
The senator has been working on the bill with the state Office of Consumer Affairs, which has logged a growing number of credit-related complaints in recent years, including troubling accounts of consumers' debt woes made worse by their credit counselors.
"Just like any business, we have those bad apples that prey upon poor and perhaps less-educated …