The state of Missouri has about one payday or car-title lender for every 4,100 residents. The interest rate on short-term loans has an average APR of 455% statewide, when the national average is a still-horrific 391%. When a coalition of churches, unions, and community groups tried to cut the maximum interest rate to 36%, the effort failed miserably. Here’s why. [More]
A group of nine South Dakota-based payday lenders — doing business under at least 17 different names, but all sharing a common senior executive — has agreed to stop garnishing wages from customers with delinquent accounts, at least until there is some sort of conclusion to the Federal Trade Commission lawsuit against them. [More]
Chicago Democrat Luis Gutierrez introduced a bill last month that supposedly reforms out of control payday lending, where interest rates can exceed 300%, but actually gives payday lenders the freedom to charge annual interest rates that can exceed, um, 300%. It doesn’t sound like much of a reform, and in fact Gutierrez has been heavily funded by the payday lending lobby. But luckily for you and me, Stephen Colbert explains why this is all a good thing.
Consumers in Washington D.C. have apparently flocked to credit unions since the district outlawed payday lending last year. Payday lenders whined that lending without 300% APRs was utterly unaffordable, but credit unions are proving that it’s possible to make long-term, low-dollar loans with interest rates as low as 16%.
A law professor and associate professor of geography set out to create the most comprehensive map of U.S. payday lenders to date. What they found, to their surprise, was “a surprising relationship between populations of Christian conservatives and the proliferation of payday lenders.” And it’s not a side effect of a poor population that happens to be Christian, according to the authors: “Our research showed that the correlation between payday lenders and the political power of conservative Christians was stronger than the correlation between payday lenders and the proportion of a population living below the poverty line.”