Proposed Payday Lending Restrictions will likely cause harm to Lower Income Households
If you read articles written by most mainstream writers or listen to election speeches from “progressive” candidates, you’ll probably find out that most of these folks detest payday loans. You’ll hear a lot about “cycles of debt”, “high interest rates” and lenders that are “predatory.” As it usually turns out with these sorts of things, most of the information you get is nothing short of hyperbole or click-bait. And here’s what some of these so-called “experts” and “consumer advocates” are not telling you: The latest batch of proposed payday lending regulations will probably cause a lot of grief for lower income households.
The bandwagon against payday loans has reached such a boiling point that Google has removed all ads for payday loans from its popular online ad network. This is the same Google that has no qualms about running ads for any number of scams, including tons of weight loss “miracle” systems that usually turn out to be nothing but snake oil in disguise. But the search engine/advertising giant has decided to toe the line when it comes to payday loans, by flat out banning ads for these popular types of loans.
With all of this going on, it should come as no surprise that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has finally come forward with the new regulations on the payday loan industry that they have been threatening for the better part of the last year. All of the groups, individuals and institutions that are opposed to short term loans have been overjoyed about the new rules. But a huge group of people (according to some studies, more than 12 million American households) are not going to be doing any celebrating if these proposed regulations wind up becoming federal law.
While the CFPB is not actually banning payday loans, the main idea behind the crafting of the new rules is to force lenders to make sure that all borrowers are able to pay back their loans on time. So, what’s wrong with that? Well, even though some people may not like payday loans that does not mean that these loans do not help people. As we said, nearly 12 million people rely on these loans during any given time of the year, and that number may actually be increasing.
It is easy to believe that the majority of payday loan customers are people who have no access to mainstream credit. However, as more people find that their pay schedules at work don’t exactly jibe with their financial needs, more people may require payday loans to help them get through in between pay periods at work. In fact, some big financial investors are investigating ways to offer payday loan-like products and services to everyone who is gainfully employed. Even Uber is getting in on the game, by announcing company plans to allow their drivers to get payday advances of as much as $1,000. And other new offerings may soon be coming that allow employees to get payday advances through cooperative efforts with their employers and new lending methodologies.
Here’s what it comes down to: For all of the “progress” that the CFPB is offering, they may be a day late and a dollar short. Just like other government initiatives in the past, this crackdown on payday lending may be another case of the federal government attempting to introduce regulations to an industry that is already on the cusp of great changes. And to make matters worse, the regulations will probably limit access to lines of credit to lower income people, right when those same loans begin to become more accessible to just about everyone else.
Make no mistake – the regulations will cause people to go without. The CFPB says that by increasing lenders’ costs, they would reduce the total dollar volume of payday loans by more than half. So where will all the money that would have normally gone to borrowers go? Could be that those dollars will wind up in the wallets of borrowers who lenders are able to identify as being less of a risk. Kind of sounds like a case study of poor/lower income households being marginalized and punished, doesn’t it?