The Long Beach (Calif.) City Council has unanimously voted to push consumer-finance lending businesses from neighborhood commercial and other areas into locations that are more automobile-oriented and widen the separation between the businesses from 1,000 feet to 1,320 feet. Planners also refined definitions for check cashing, payday loans, consumer loans, commercial, car title and signature loans. "We're concerned about the practices and locations of these businesses and the hardships inflicted on residents who get caught up with these companies, said Long Beach Central Project Area Council President Annie Greenfeld. "We are especially concerned that most of these businesses are located in low-income neighborhoods and strip much assets from already struggling individuals and communities, and create blight," she added.
According to the Center for Responsible Lending, the payday lending industry has established more than 22,000 locations nationwide, lending an estimated $27 billion annually. The typical two-week loan that is issued has an annualized interest rate ranging from 391 percent to 521 percent. Director of Development Services Amy Bodek said there are 35 check cashing, 15 payday lending and three consumer lending businesses in the city. The proposal passed with an amendment by Councilman Gary DeLong that will have planning staff report back on the feasibility of adding a 500-foot buffer around residential areas for the short-term lenders.