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State bans employer credit checks in hiring

Illinois employers will no longer be able to run credit checks on those applying for jobs under a measure Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law today. Supporters say the move is aimed at preventing employers from turning away job seekers due to poor credit amid an economic crisis that has left many unemployed and struggling to pay the bills.

60% of employers check job applicants’ credit

An increasing number of employers are using credit checks to screen potential job applicants. So missed payments on your mortgage, car or credit card could keep you from getting hired.

According to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, 60 percent of employers are using credit checks when filling at least some of their openings. Only 35 percent reported checking credit in a 2003 survey, and only about 13 percent did so 1996. Get the full story »

Quinn signs law limiting payday loan interest rates

Payday loan companies will face limits on how much interest they can charge under legislation Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law this afternoon.

Under the new rules, interest rates would be capped at 99 percent for consumer installment loans of $4,000 and less and at 36 percent for loans that are $4,000 or more. Previously, there were no limits on how much loan companies could charge in interest, and some borrowers were smacked with rates as high as 700 to 1,000 percent, according to Quinn’s office.

“Access to credit is the key to economic life not only for business, but for every single person,” Quinn said. “The word ‘credit’ in Latin means ‘to believe,’ it doesn’t mean ‘to gouge.’ So it’s important to those who offer credit to follow some basic rules in the market place that protect consumers from being gouged.”

Credit checks bill awaits governor’s signature

By Julie Wernau
A bill that would prohibit employers from inquiring about or using a
person’s credit history as a basis for employment or discharge has
passed both legislative chambers in Springfield, and is awaiting the
governor’s signature.

The bill, House Bill 4658, introduced by Rep. Jack D. Franks
(D-Woodstock), creates the Employer Credit Privacy Act, and provides
exemptions for the banking and financial industry and state law
enforcement and investigation units. The bill passed the Senate on May 4, and the House of Representatives concurred on minor changes made to the
bill Thursday.

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