Payday Lenders Assail Online Competitors
March 5, 2013
Storefront payday lenders are stepping up their rivalry against online lenders by pushing lawmakers to allow expansion of short-term, high-cost lending in various states, arguing that the alternative is for consumers to engage with a predatory black market. At issue for states mulling changes to payday lending laws is whether outlawing or restricting the products is actually driving prospective storefront customers to online borrowing, where they may face even greater risks. Consumer advocates, meanwhile, argue that state bans on predatory lending have been effective, reducing the overall volume of loans. Research from the Pew Charitable Trusts' Safe Small-Dollar Loans Research Project in 2012 found that the share of adults taking out storefront payday loans was four times as high in states that allow the products as it was in states that ban or tightly regulate them. Although the volume of online lending was higher in states with bans or restrictions, the difference was statistically negligible. "The states that have legalized payday lending -- what do they get? They get more payday loans," remarks Uriah King of the Center for Responsible Lending.
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