Mt. Vernon, VA– Delegate Scott Surovell (D-44) was presented with the Champions of Consumer Rights” Award by the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA) over the weekend. The award recognizes his years of advocacy to protect consumers, push back against predatory lending and House Bill 2015 which seeks to provide exemptions related to child care support.
NACBA President Edward Boltz stated, “We are pleased to recognize Delegate Scott Surovell with the award in recognition of his tireless advocacy for consumers, including his work in combatting abuses by payday lenders and car title lenders, and particularly his successful effort, working with NACBA members in Virginia, to enact legislation to protect Virginians in bankruptcy from having their child support, spousal support, and earned income tax credits taken by bankruptcy trustees.”
The legislation, House Bill 2015, provides modifications to bankruptcy exemptions related to child care support and allows an individual filing bankruptcy or subject to judgment collections to exempt child and spousal support arrearages from actions to collect debts by creditors. It also allowed debtors to spread existing exemptions for individual vehicles or firearms among multiple assets instead of having to claim only one car of firearm as exempt.
The award also recognized Delegate Surovell’s work to restrict car title lenders in Virginia. Ten car title lender locations have opened on the U.S. 1 Corridor between the beltway and Fort Belvoir since 2011. These predatory lenders target low income families in severe financial distress and active duty military service members. They charge interest rates up to 30% per month and annual percentage rates of nearly 300% per year. The proliferation of these businesses acts as a hindrance to high quality development and targets the most vulnerable in the community.
Delegate Surovell’s effort to combat predatory lending was also featured in the December 26, 2014 issue of the New York Times regarding the explosion of subprime consumer lending in the United States.
Delegate Surovell stated, “I am proud to have successfully passed legislation to protect families during bankruptcy proceedings. Child support is paid to support children, not creditors. The earned income tax credit is not a refund of taxes paid and is an effective anti-poverty program. It is not a creditor’s lottery ticket. I will continue to push back against those who target consumers and cause a cycle of debt for low income families in Virginia. Thank you to the NACBA for their consumer advocacy and for recognizing me with the Champion of Consumer Rights Award.”
The award is given in recognition of and appreciation for extraordinary service in protecting American Consumers and, in particular, the recipient’s critical role in preserving the rights of consumer debtors in need of bankruptcy relief. This year’s award recipients also included Rohit Chopra, Assistant Director and Student Loan Ombudsman, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD).