Friday, November 3, 2017

Payday lending and check cashing

In the WSJ:
The Hand-to-Hand Combat to Save Payday Lending
Payday lenders and consumer advocates fuel letter-writing campaigns ahead of the introduction of regulatory oversight

"Florida payday lender Amscot Financial Inc. in the summer of 2016 rounded up about 600,000 letters from customers protesting a regulator’s plan to clamp down on high-interest loans. The letters, many handwritten, were scanned, packed in 131 cartons and shipped to Washington.

The unusual campaign by Amscot was part of a fight between the payday industry and consumer advocates to try to sway the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is expected in the coming days to introduce federal oversight of the $38.5 billion industry.

Payday loans are used by an estimated 10 million to 12 million Americans every year, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck. The loans are typically a few hundred dollars and due in two weeks, or on the borrower’s next payday. Their annualized interest rates, which can rise to nearly 400%, have long troubled regulators.

The CFPB rule would supplement a mishmash of state rules. It would likely require lenders to assess borrowers’ ability to repay and make it harder to roll over loans, a lucrative part of the business. The practice, where customers take out new loans to repay old ones, often leads to snowballing fees. Lenders say such requirements would wipe out the market for short-term payday loans."
"The CFPB’s payday rule is among a handful of recent regulations that generated millions of comments. In recent years, the Environmental Protection Agency’s rule to curb carbon emissions from power plants drew 4.3 million comments. The “net neutrality” plan governing internet-service providers attracted more than 22 million comments."

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