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New Morning Consult Poll Shows Broad, Bipartisan Support among Voters for 36% Interest Rate Cap on Payday and Installment Loans

Tuesday, February 4, 2020
Charla Rios

Poll released as House Committee Chairwoman Waters backs bipartisan legislation to establish a national 36% interest rate cap

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Voters across the country and across the political spectrum strongly support a 36% annual interest rate cap for both payday and consumer installment loans, according to a new poll commissioned by the nonprofit Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) and conducted by independent polling firm Morning Consult (View a PDF slide deck showing highlights of the poll). Approximately 10,000 registered voters took part in the survey, which has a margin of error of +/-1%.

The poll follows the introduction of the Veterans and Consumers Fair Credit Act (H.R. 5050 / S. 2833), which would cap rates at 36% APR – while not preempting states with lower caps. The legislation was introduced by Congressmen Jesús “Chuy” García (D-Ill.) and Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.) in the House and U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) in the Senate. As reported by The Hill newspaper, House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Waters “plans to advance” the bill this year.

“This new poll supplies the latest evidence that capping the interest rate of loans at no higher than 36% is incredibly popular with Republican, Democratic, and independent voters,” said CRL Researcher Charla Rios. “This result is consistent with recent ballot measures to cap rates, which have passed in ‘red’ and ‘purple’ states.”

Morning Consult conducted the survey from January 9-15. Key findings include:

  • Seventy percent (70%) of voters support a 36% annual interest rate cap on payday and consumer installment loans.
    • Over half (52%) of voters “strongly support” a 36% rate cap on payday loans. Similarly, forty-one percent (41%) of voters “strongly support” a 36% cap on consumer installment loans.
    • The proposal sees wide support among Democrats, independents, and Republicans alike.
    • Voters support a 36% cap on payday loans, with a 64%-73% total support across all 50 states and DC.
    • Voters support a 36% cap for consumer installment loans, with a 60%-72% total support across all 50 states and DC.
  • When voters oppose a 36% interest rate cap on payday loans, three in five (61%) do so because they believe that 36% annual interest is too high and a rate cap should be much lower.
  • The majority of voters (62%) have an unfavorable impression of payday lenders.
    • Forty-four percent (44%) of registered voters have a “very unfavorable” impression of payday lenders.
    • Payday lenders lag behind the IRS in terms of favorability.

Additional Background

In recent years, there have been five state ballot measures to cap interest rates on loans at 36% annual interest or lower (many states have lower rate limits, especially for larger loan amounts). Support for this type of cap has come at the ballot box from 59% of Arizona voters and 63% of Ohio voters in 2008; 71% of Montana voters in 2012; 76% of South Dakota voters in 2016; and, 77% of Colorado voters in 2018.

Complete findings from the poll and a description of the methodology used for the poll are available in the polling slide deck.

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Press Contact: matthew.kravitz@responsiblelending.org