COLUMBUS: After sailing through the House, changes to Ohio’s payday lending business will have to wait until at least later this summer, maybe longer, to get a Senate vote.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Scott Oelslager said the panel would not vote on the measure either Tuesday or Wednesday. And with the Statehouse essentially shutting down for the summer so lawmakers can campaign for re-election, the bill now will be put on hold — although Senate President Larry Obhof has said he could call the Senate back into session as early as July to consider the controversial proposal.

Oelslager, R-Canton, said it is important for the committee to take its time on the bill and seek to achieve balance while making changes to House Bill 123. The committee had been contemplating amendments favored by the payday industry but opposed by consumer advocates.

The bill would cap rates at 28 percent annual interest plus a maximum fee of $20 per month along with prohibiting loan payments larger than 5 percent of a borrower’s monthly income. Additionally, the bill would cap total interest and fees at 50 percent of the loan amount, meaning a payday lender could make $250 off a $500 loan.

The Pew Charitable Trusts has estimated that Ohio has the highest payday lending rate in the nation at up to 591 percent when added up in total over the course of a year.

Earlier this month, the bill made its way out of the House without any changes — rare for a major bill — but could not get through even a Senate committee before summer break.

The committee has heard testimony in the previous two weeks on the bill and considered adding potential amendments proposed by Sen. Matt Huffman, R-Lima. Oelslager said amendments could be added in the future but will be put on hold for the time being.

The bill was introduced in March of 2017 and sat dormant for about a year before picking up steam following the resignation of former House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville. He resigned his seat amid reports that the FBI was investigating international travel that was paid for in part by lobbyists for the payday industry.

Passionate testimony from both sides Tuesday highlighted the big money at stake in this business and the changes that could come with this bill.

Former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann urged the committee to pass the bill as presented by the House, calling on legislators to avoid adding what he called last-minute “poison pill amendments” that would further hurt consumers.

“Think of how this vote will affect the lives of the people you were elected to serve,” Dann said.

Ted Saunders, chairman and CEO of the parent company of the massive Checksmart brand and president of the Ohio Consumer Lenders Association, said the high rates being charged in the marketplace are from outliers in the industry — not his company.

He said the measure is untested in any other state and would actually hurt borrowers seeking short-term relief.