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TitleMax to Open in Cooper Center

TitleMax is the second car title lending business to open in Mount Vernon in six months.

By this summer, another car title loan business will open its doors, this time at the former Il Paradiso Trattoria site on Route 1.

TitleMax is expected to open in June, said Brendan Clark of Renaud Consulting, the leasing agent at Cooper Center. TitleMax signed the lease for the space June 2011 but did not submit drawings to the landlord until March. The company needs to go to Fairfax County for final approval of their plans.

The new TitleMax location will be the second car title loan business to open on Route 1 since January 1. There are at least eight car title loan businesses in Fairfax County, three of which are located along the Route 1 corridor.

The car title lending industry was unregulated until legislation went into effect in October 2010. During the 2011 legislative session, however, Virginia lawmakers passed a bill eliminating provisions that prevent car title lenders from lending to individuals whose car is registered out-of-state. The measure allows car title loans to be made to out-of-state residents if the lender’s security interest is added to the certificate of title by complying with the laws of the state where the vehicle is registered.

Although the bill further placed additional regulations on car title lenders in Virginia, local lawmakers are concerned that making car title loans available to non-residents will perpetuate the growth of car title lenders on Route 1.

Del. Scott Surovell (D-44th) said, "I'm concerned it was going to turn Route 1 into a place for car title lenders because of our proximity to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge." He added that making car title loans available to non-residents could attract Maryland residents and active duty military personnel looking for fast cash.

In a recent post on his blog The Dixie Pig, Surovell stated his opposition to the legislation. "I thought this was the last kind of redevelopment we needed on U.S. 1 if we were going to improve the reputation of our area," he wrote.

Local zoning regulations have made it easier for car title lenders to set up shop in Fairfax County.

, car title loan businesses are permitted by the C-8 (Highway Commercial) zoning district; the only improvements being made to those buildings are cosmetic.

“As such, the county has no legal authority to stop these businesses from opening assuming that they comply with all other laws,” Versel said in the blog post on Patch. “If the owners of these businesses are willing to pay the rent, then the building owners are perfectly well within their rights to lease space to them.”

Proponents of car title loan businesses say they provide an easy way for people to get cash quickly without a credit history check, provided those taking the money understand the terms and risks and pay the loan back quickly.

"I don’t really think of it as economic development,” Sen. Linda “Toddy” Puller (D-36th) said. “I can’t believe that Mike’s Italian restaurant is a car title loan place [Fast Auto Loans]. I’d rather have another Italian restaurant [in that location]."

Patch contacted TitleMax and CashPoint; representatives from both companies declined comment. 

Scott Surovell April 12, 2012 at 11:57 AM
There are actually seven car title lenders near or on Route 1 now. This is exactly what I was worried about when this law was passed - it only cleared the House of Delegates by one vote.
Cathy Hosek April 12, 2012 at 12:25 PM
I find it annoying that businesses like this can pop up no problem and it takes us years to get something like Costco. Unbelievable that "During the 2011 legislative session, however, Virginia lawmakers passed a bill eliminating provisions that prevent car title lenders from lending to individuals whose car is registered out-of-state. " - that should never have happened... looks like it is time to do some research and find out who voted for that to pass and send a few letters! I get that we are near a military base, but make those locations ON base so it doesn't negatively impact the surrounding area.
Scott Surovell April 12, 2012 at 01:53 PM
I voted No. It was a very tight vote and due to some vote switching Delegate Glen Oder who was leading the opposition needed only one vote to kill it, but he couldn't find one more no vote in the chamber. My concern was that this exact problem would happen because of our proximity to D.C. and Maryland. I wrote about it here - http://scottsurovell.blogspot.com/2012/02/car-title-lenders-explode-on-us-1.html
Isle D Belle April 12, 2012 at 02:20 PM
This is terrible! But they obviously have a willing clientelle. Maybe we should be taking a look at how we can help people who need this type of service so that they can avoid having to resort to it.
jay speer April 13, 2012 at 01:40 PM
The Bill mentioned was SB 136 and below is the vote. A yes vote means you asked for more car title lenders. SB 1367 Motor vehicle title loans; loans to nonresidents. floor: 02/21/11 House: VOTE: PASSAGE (51-Y 47-N) -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- YEAS--Abbitt, Albo, Anderson, Armstrong, Bell, Richard P., Bell, Robert B., Brink, Byron, Carrico, Cleaveland, Cline, Cole, Comstock, Cox, J.A., Edmunds, Garrett, Gilbert, Greason, Habeeb, Hugo, Ingram, Janis, Joannou, Kilgore, Knight, Kory, Lewis, Lingamfelter, Loupassi, Marshall, D.W., Massie, May, Merricks, Miller, J.H., Morefield, Peace, Phillips, Poindexter, Putney, Robinson, Rust, Scott, E.T., Sherwood, Sickles, Spruill, Stolle, Villanueva, Ware, R.L., Wilt, Wright, Mr. Speaker--51. NAYS--Abbott, Alexander, Athey, BaCote, Barlow, Bulova, Carr, Cosgrove, Cox, M.K., Crockett-Stark, Dance, Ebbin, Englin, Filler-Corn, Herring, Hope, Howell, A.T., Iaquinto, James, Johnson, Jones, Keam, Landes, LeMunyon, Marshall, R.G., McClellan, McQuinn, Miller, P.J., Morgan, Morrissey, Nutter, O'Bannon, Oder, Orrock, Plum, Pogge, Pollard, Purkey, Scott, J.M., Shuler, Surovell, Tata, Torian, Toscano, Tyler, Ward, Watts--47. ABSTENTIONS--0. NOT VOTING--Ware, O.--1. Delegate Bell, Richard P. recorded as yea. Intended to vote nay. Delegate Carrico recorded as yea. Intended to vote nay.

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