Payday Reform News: August 19-26

August 19, Progressive Pulse, NC POLICY WATCH: Today’s “must read”: How a progressive stance on one issue is saving NC residents more than $450 million per year
This blog post summarizes CRL’s research showing that state’s without payday lending save $2.2 billion per year. Evidence from CRL and others shows that borrowers in these states find alternatives that are cheaper, that they are protected from the harms of payday lending, and that there is broad public support for maintaining rate caps in states that have them.

Top Stories:

August 26, Delaware News Journal: Lawmakers eye caps on changing payday lending industry
This article describes how payday lenders circumvented payday lending reform limiting the number of loans that could be made per year in Delaware by offering installment loans to which the laws don’t apply. New legislation would cap payday and installment loans at 100% annual interest and would prohibit lenders from repeatedly attempting to make automated withdrawals on short-term loans, unless the borrower authorizes another attempt in writing. The piece features a video interview with a borrower worried about making her mortgage payment.

August 26, The Christian Post: Ask Chuck: What Does the Bible Say About Payday Loans?
In this advice column by Chuck Bentley, the author explains the usurious nature of payday lending. He mentions that the CFPD’s crackdown has led to the development of installment loans which are also predatory. He recommends interest-free Christian-based alternatives.

August 25, The Crimson White: Predatory Lending Must End
This column in the University of Alabama paper tells the columnist’s experience visiting a payday lending store and discovering the triple-digit interest rates. He supports the CFPB rule.

August 24, GOVERNING (Online): Like the Industry, Payday Loan Ballot Measures Mislead Voters
This article discusses a pair of dueling payday lending ballot measures in South Dakota; one, supported by advocates, caps the annual interest rate at 36%, and one, supported by the industry, purports to cap the annual interest rate at 18% but actually allows lenders to charge 500% and 600% with the simple signature of the borrower on a waiver. The article expresses the fears of advocates that voters will simply choose the lower rate, not realizing the 18% cap will be ineffective. The industry spent $1.5 million getting the measure on the ballot, while South Dakotans for Responsible Lending, the group behind the 36% measure, has spent less than $20,000.

August 23, Black Press USA, Philadelphia Tribune: Ninety Million Consumers Save $2.2 Billion Each Year without Triple-digit Interest Loans
This column by Charlene Crowell of CRL shares the release of CRL’s research “Shark-Free Waters,” finding that consumers in states without triple-digit interest payday lending save $2.2 billion per year. The column points out that while CRL’s previous research documents the harm that payday lending does to borrowers, this project focuses on the benefits for consumers who live in payday-free states.

August 22, Omaha World-Herald: Payday lending needs to change
This anti-payday lending guest editorial by Michelle Zych, executive director for the Women’s Fund of Omaha, explains the predatory business model of Nebraska’s 450% interest lending industry. The writer calls on the Nebraska legislature to enact reforms that complement the CFPB proposed rules, suggesting that the state regulate interest rates since the CFPB cannot.

August 21, Houston Chronicle: Payday lenders retreat in the face of new restrictions
This story discusses how a local Houston ordinance has decreased the number of payday and title loan storefronts by 40% and transactions by 27% within the city limits. The ordinance was one of dozens passed across the states in a push by faith leaders after efforts to reform payday lending at the state level failed. Those ordinances typically require some verification of a borrower’s ability to repay the loan and limit the number of transactions.

August 19, PBS &UNCTV.ORG Religion & Ethics Weekly: Religious Leaders Protest Payday Lending Loopholes
This blurb mentions a gathering of faith leaders from 15 states who met in Washington D.C. and asked for a federal interest rate cap of 36 percent.

McGill International Review: “The High Toll Of Being Poor In The USA,” 8/22/16

August 20, Christian Science Monitor: Are ‘socially responsible’ payday lenders all they’re cracked up to be?
This article discusses the claim of “alternative” short-term lenders to offer borrowers the opportunity to build good credit. It points out that while cheaper than traditional payday loans, these loans still carry triple digit interest rates of 120% and higher. The loans have some of the features of the proposed CFPB payday rules. One lender claims to allow borrowers to “build points” on their “lending ladder” to eventually get to a 36% annual interest rate.

August 19, Houston Chronicle: Lower cost models emerge to compete with payday lenders
This article discusses alternative payday loans being developed in light of the CFPB’s proposed payday rules.

August 19, WVTF Public Radio: Critics of Predatory Lending Divided Over Best Way to Help Borrowers
This radio broadcast discusses differences of opionion among advocates on how the CFPB should regulate payday lending. It features Diane Standaert of CRL and Alex Horowitz of Pew Charitable Trusts, who disagree over whether borrowers’ ability to repay their loans should be regulated by limiting the loan amount to 5 percent of their income.