Payday Lenders Now Outnumber McDonald’s (But Still Not As Many As Subway)

There are more than 14,000 McDonald’s locations in the U.S., meaning you’re rarely more than a few miles away from a Big Mac. But even though payday loans are illegal in more than a dozen states, these short-term predatory lending operations outnumber Golden Arches eateries by nearly 1.5 to 1, though they still have some catching up to do with the vast number of Subway stores.

This is according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, which reports that there are now around 20,000 payday lending operations in America, or about 6.3 lenders serving every 100,000 people.

This is in spite of the fact that the high-interest, short-term loans are only available in 36 states and some of the states that ban them are among the most populous, including New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Virginia. Which means the concentration of payday operations is even higher than the 20,000 stat would initially indicate.

But if payday lenders want to truly outpace the fast food industry, they have a while to go before catching up with Subway, which currently has more than 26,000 locations in the U.S. and has plans to add another 7,000 to 8,000 in the coming decade.

[via NBC News]