The payday lending business has declined in the state since surging in 2011, the Oklahoma Department of Consumer Credit has found. Last year, residents there took out 803,675 deferred-deposit loans that totaled more than $383.9 million, compared to 975,970 payday loans that totaled $399.1 million in 2012. The number of payday lenders, meanwhile, fell from 356 in 2010 to 290 in 2013.
The state's decline reflects a national trend, according to Diane Standaert, an attorney for the Center for Responsible Lending. “The shrinking storefronts and decline of loan volume in Oklahoma is consistent with what we’ve seen in other states,” she noted. However, payday lenders are still raking in plenty of profit, earning $53 million in finance charges in the state last year compared to $54 million in 2012 -- a decline of only 1 percent. “Payday lenders have sought to make up for a lack of growth by either making larger loans or charging more fees to try and squeeze more out of financially stressed consumers,” Standaert explained. “They are draining $50 million in fees and finance charges every year despite the fact there are a fewer number of consumers and a fewer number of loans.”