Richard Cordray, CFPB Chief, Promises New Scrutiny of Banks That Make Payday Loans

January 19, 2012
Huffington Post  
payday lending news

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Richard Cordray, speaking in Birmingham, Ala., this week at the agency's first public hearing, pledged to turn the heat up on payday lenders -- including a select few traditional banks that have started to offer their own version of the short-term advances. Those banks have tried to differentiate their cash-advance products from those of payday lenders because of the way in which they are structured, but consumer advocates do not buy that argument. Based on its data, the Center for Responsible Lending finds that bank payday lenders are bound to fall victim to the same cycle of debt that befalls traditional payday customers. The statistics, purchased by CRL from an independent vendor, show that bank payday borrowers take out 16 loans and are mired in debt 175 days out of the year -- or twice as long as the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. considers healthy. "The very structure of a bank payday loan makes it likely to trap customers in long-term debt even while the bank claims that the loans are meant for short-term use," noted CRL senior policy analyst Rebecca Borne. Moreover, because the bank model requires the borrower to have a checking account and to have pay and/or benefits deposited directly into that account, the risk of default is relatively low -- meaning that the rates banks charge for this service are strictly for profit. "We recognize the need for emergency credit," Cordray acknowledged at the Jan. 18 event. "At the same time, it is important that these products actually help consumers, rather than harm them."
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