Birmingham, Ala., has had a moratorium on new payday lending and auto title businesses for two years, and now the city council is considering new zoning rules for more long-term control on the growth of these financial services. Proposed rules, which would not impact existing businesses, would stipulate a buffer of 2,000 to 5,000 feet between new payday lending businesses.
Councilwoman Lashunda Scales, who has pushed for tougher rules on payday lenders for several years, sponsored the ordinance. "The objective is to finally provide a resolution that is the best approach to stop the growth of payday lending which has adversely impacted, not only communities, but families who struggle to make ends meet," she said. According to Scales, these "subprime businesses" stifle positive commercial development. There will be a public hearing before the vote on Dec. 10. Birmingham's moratorium generated national interest and prompted the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to choose the city as the location for its first field hearing on payday lending.