Although a bill aimed at curbing abusive debt collection practices is dead this session in Salem, the Washington Post is reporting that federal regulators are investigating the industry.

"Federal regulators are widening an investigation into whether the nation's biggest banks used flawed documents and incomplete records to collect on delinquent credit card debts, according to four people familiar with the probe," the Post wrote on May 28.

The issue in Oregon and across the country, as WW reported earlier, is that credit card issuers and debt buyers often try to collect debts without sufficient proof the debt exists or that the alleged debtor actually owes it.

Trying to pass financial regulation in Salem often takes multiple sessions. Yesterday, U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley and U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.) held a celebration on the six anniversary of the passage of pay-day lending reform. The results of that reform can be seen in a report released yesterday by the advocacy group Economic Fairness Oregon.

The report, "Payday Lenders Lose Interest; Oregon Consumers Pocket Savings," found that Oregonians have saved $40 million annually in fees and interest since the passage of 2007 reforms and that the number of payday loans and associated lawsuits has plummeted.

But as Merkley noted yesterday, he started working on the issue when he entered the Legislature in 1999 and it was not until 2007 that comprehensive reform passed. 

"The lesson is when there are tremendous profits being made, these groups in the financial industry will do anything they can to hold onto them," Merkley said yesterday.