Dear Payday Lenders, Maine Just Isn’t That Into You

Read the polling memo here.

According to a new poll, only 6% of Maine residents think of payday lenders positively, and most support payday lending reform. There are more Mainers who dislike the New England Patriots than Mainers who oppose reforming payday loans.

These sentiments reach across the partisan divide, as 76% of Trump voters and 86% of Clinton voters view payday lending unfavorably. In fact, Republican and Democratic voters in general overwhelmingly disapprove of the payday lending industry at 72% and 88% unfavorability respectfully. This consensus extends to all genders, all age groups, and all races. In fact, in every single demographic polled the unfavorability rate of the payday loan industry is greater than 65%.

For years, payday lenders have ravaged Maine families. Despite efforts to rein them in, payday lenders still routinely charge interest rates as high as 217% on top of the original loan. They get access to borrower’s bank accounts, and operate on a business model in which borrowers are forced to take out multiple loans just to pay off the original loan. This form of predatory loans alone costs Mainers around half a million dollars each year.

Luckily, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently released a rule that will curtail the most egregious acts of predatory lending by payday lenders by requiring lenders to ensure that their customers can afford the loans. It will also allow for a 30-day break after 3 loans have been taken out. These protections will go a long way to helping borrowers. Most Mainers agree with the CFPB.

Members of Congress like Senator Susan Collins can take note of the sentiments of their constituents. According to the same poll, 48% of independents said that they would be less likely to vote for her if she opposed this new rule.