Payday Reform News: July 29-August 5

Highlight of the week:

August 4, Wisconsin Public Radio: Rally Against Payday Loan And Vehicle-title Lenders
More than 100 activists from across the nation rallied at a Milwaukee payday loan storefront earlier this week demanding the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau properly regulate payday and car-title lenders with high interest loans.

Partner Blogs and Statements:

August 4, National Council of La Raza: Stopping the Debt Trap in Orlando
This article is a column from the NCLR identifying the payday debt trap as a serious threat to the financial security of minority communities in Orlando, and urges people to share comments with the CFPB before the October 7 deadline.

August 3, Allied Progress: The Hill Corrects Pro-Payday Op-Ed, Now Notes Conflict of Interest
This article is a report noting that the op-ed in The Hill authored by Robert Sherrill, a small-business owner in Tennessee, had a correction in Sherrill’s bio noting that his business is contracted by the payday lenders for which he advocates.

August 1, Citizen Action Wisconsin: 100 Activists from across the Country Rally at Payday Loan Storefront Calling for Strong Federal Rules
This article is a report on a rally in Milwaukee aimed at a payday loan storefront owned by a man who has been previously fined for campaign finance limit breaches. The protesters urged the owner to submit a letter to the CFPB admitting his culpability in putting Milwaukee residents in the debt trap.

July 27, California Reinvestment Coalition: 2015 PAYDAY LOAN STATISTICS FOR CALIFORNIA
CRC offers up the latest drill down on payday lending numbers in California.

Top Stories:

August 3, New Yorker: Why It’s So Hard to Regulate Payday Lenders
This article is a news report on the various ways that payday lenders have avoided or adapted to regulation in order to continue exploiting communities. Focusing specifically on Georgia, the author discusses the history of regulation including the 2004 rate cap, and says that payday lenders adapted by shifting to the car title lending and installment lending industries.

July 29, Selma Times-Journal: Alabama’s lending movement will win
This article is a guest column from Stephen Stetson, a policy analyst with Arise Citizens’ Policy Project. The article outlines the corrupt methods that payday lenders are using in Alabama to influence legislation, and argues the ways that individuals can help fight the problem and defeat payday lending.

July 29, Tampa Bay Times: Now we know what was fueling push to expand Florida’s disastrous payday lending model
This article is an opinion column illuminating the reason for the strong push from Florida legislators to implement the Florida model of payday lending nationally. The author identifies the MacKechnie family, owners of Amscot Financial and million-dollar campaign donors, as the primary support for the effort.

Other News:

August 5, Triple Pundit: Technology Could Save Millions of Americans from Predatory Payday Loans
This article is a report on several tech startups in the fintech sector that provide services that may protect borrowers from, or help those trapped in, the payday debt trap. These include services that offer advances on earned wages, automatic savings transfers, and supplying loans at significantly lower interest rates. The author also mentions other ideas like postal banking and payday alternative loans.

August 5, Arkansas Online: CashMax fees break state law, North Little Rock says
This article is a news report on a lending agency, CashMax, which connects borrowers with third party lenders for a fee, of being in violation of Arkansas law regarding its interest rate cap. The owner had previously been closely related to the payday industry before its ban in 2008.

August 4, Las Vegas Review-Journal: Payday loans reform advocates say Las Vegas borrowers often end up on ‘treadmill of debt’
This article is a report on the payday lending debt trap in Nevada. The author illustrates the problem through several borrowers’ stories, including one about a grandfather who defaulted on several loans after months of rolling over payments. The author reports that more regulation is needed to avoid stories such as these.

August 4, RegBlog: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Aims to Lend Borrowers a Helping Hand
This article is an opinion column that outlines the predatory practices of payday lenders, discusses the proposed CFPB rule, and provides suggestions for other potential regulations. The author wrote the article is a manner very critical of payday lending, very much aligned with the position of CRL.

August 3, Search Engine Roundtable: Google AdWords Finally Drops Payday Loan & High Interest Loan Ads
This article is a short news report showing that Google seems to have finally filtered out all payday loan advertisements from Google AdWords. The process took several weeks, but the author reports that they seem to no longer appear at all.

August 3, Houston Examiner: Bellaire looks to further regulate payday lenders, pawnshops
This article is a news report about ordinances that are being considered in Bellaire, TX, regarding the payday lending industry. Some city council members believe payday lending to be a threat to citizens’ security, while others including the mayor believe the council should not get involved.

August 2, Salt Lake Tribune: Auditors smack Utah regulators for lax enforcement of payday industry
This article is a news report on the Department of Financial Institutions, a regulating agency in Utah, improperly regulating payday lenders in the state. The payday lenders were regularly rolling loans over for their borrowers despite a state law requiring a 70 day limit, and auditors discovered that the DFI was allowing it to happen.
Additional Outlets:
Fox 13 Salt Lake City: Audit: State regulators don’t punish payday lenders

August 2, Kansas City Star: Payday lending traps low-income families in tragic cycle of debt
This article is an opinion column on payday lending and the problems it creates in low-income communities. The author also calls out two representatives, Republicans Yoder and Leutkemeyer, who are fighting against payday lending reform, as well as discusses the CFPB rule.

August 2, Knowledge@Wharton: How New Rules Could Reshape the Payday Loan Industry
This article is an interview with Jeremy Tobacman and Creola Johnson, professors at the Wharton School of Business and the Ohio State University Law School. In the interview, payday lending and the proposed CFPB rule were discussed in detail.

August 1, Deseret News: For many Americans, payday loans simply prolong problems, not erase them
This article is a column on alternatives to payday lending. The author argues that the payday lending industry is one of the most expensive and exploitative ways of accessing credit, and suggests seeking a loan or negotiating better terms wherever possible before resorting to a payday loan.

July 31, Portland Press Herald: Michelle Singletary: Consumer watchdog earns its keep
This article is a reprint of the Washington Post interview with CFPB chair Richard Cordray. In the interview, Cordray is asked about the proposed rules on payday lending, to which he responds with a defense of the rule saying it protects consumers from an industry with a long history of avoiding regulation.

July 31, The Root: Goodbye, Payday Loans; Hello, Helpful Tech Startups and Other Options for ‘Distressed Borrowers’
This article is a guest column from an investor who has invested in alternatives to payday lending in the tech sector. The author first describes the negative impact payday lending has, especially on communities of color, and gives examples of tech startups that attempt to rectify those problems while still providing small dollar lending to consumers.