Are Payday Lenders who we really think they are?

Jun 20, 2017 by

Are Payday Lenders who we really think they are?

Though we have more information readily available to us now that the Internet is so readily available, people still base their opinions upon what they hear people say. And it is often the loudest voices (websites with the most visitors) that tend to get listened to the most. This is not a good thing, as the world has grown more and more polarized despite most of us having instant access to all the facts that are available to us. People would often rather just go along with the popular opinion than make informed decisions for themselves.

This state of affairs leads us to a world where perception really has become reality for most. If the websites and people we tend to gravitate toward say something on a topic, many people simply mentally check out and take that opinion on as their own. A topic that really shows this idea in action is payday loans. The mainstream media has pretty much demonized the lenders that make up this industry, while making the people who use these loans out to be folks who simply don’t know how to make better choices for themselves. Heck, if you believed what gets put into print most of the time, you’d think that every payday lender was a millionaire Ebenezer Scrooge type of character; someone who is raking in tons of profits off of the misery of others.

So, what kind of money are payday lenders raking in regularly? Are they really the heartless, rich money changers that so many people would like you to believe? In a word – “No!” It turns out that many payday lenders are not nearly as wealthy as the CFPB and other organizations would like you to believe. Studies have been done across the industry to find out what the average lender brings in every year. The higher per-loan and store overhead costs can make it extremely difficult for lending companies, especially smaller companies to remain profitable.

It is important to remember that payday lenders are in the business of providing unsecured (no collateral) loans to some of the highest risk borrowers (people with low credit scores and/or lower than normal income levels.) These folks make up a large portion of the country, but are dramatically unserved/underserved by the mainstream banks and other creditors. In other words, in many ways payday lenders have a corner on a market. Yet, most lenders continue to charge fees that are very similar across the board. That is to say, that payday lenders (for the most part) are not driving up the costs associated with their loans, even though that would be pretty easy for them to do, as the majority of their client-base has no other source to turn to for small dollar/short term lines of credit.

The long and short of this whole situation is that payday lending companies (especially the smaller to medium sized ones) are like other small businesses in this country. Most of them care about the people and communities they serve. Most of them are not on a mission to gouge their clients, even though they could easily do so. The majority of payday lenders are working hard to remain even minimally profitable, and like the fact that they are able to provide valuable services to the communities that they work in.

Think about that the next time you read an article that talks about wealthy, predatory lenders who have no regard for the people they loan money to. This description might work as great click-bait and undoubtedly outrages people. But it simply does not paint an accurate picture of 99 percent of all payday lending companies doing business today.

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CFPB Accuses Online Payday Lenders of Exposing Customers to Hidden Risks

Jun 6, 2016 by

CFPB Accuses Online Payday Lenders of Exposing Customers to Hidden Risks

Dealing with emergency expenses is difficult for even the most affluent among us. Lower income households, however, can fact outright ruin when financial emergencies rear their ugly heads. And many low to mid income households in this country are either underbanked or unbanked, so they often have very few options when they need to borrow money to take care of these types of expenses. Often, these folks turn to alternative financial service providers, like online payday lending companies.

More often than not, people who take out payday loans run into no problems with repaying them, and they are then free to go about their normal routines. In some cases, though, people get hit with fees that they may not have expected. Some reports have shown that borrowers pay an average of $185 in penalties from their banks – usually overdraft or non-sufficient fund fees – when lenders go through the process of automatically deducting repayment for loans given. It is estimated that about a third of online borrowers who winded up with bank penalties had to deal with involuntary bank account closures.

This has happened to consumers when online lending companies repeatedly make debit attempts on their customers’ accounts. This causes extra bank fees to kick in for the account holders, even though these efforts usually lead to no payment being recovered on the part of the lending companies.

Of course, the CFPB is keeping tabs on online payday lending companies, so it comes as no surprise that the Director of the CFPB, Richard Cordray has a strong opinion on these types of issues. Cordray said, “Each of these additional consequences of an online loan can be significant, and together they may impose large costs, both tangible and intangible, that go far beyond the amounts paid solely to the original lender,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray.

These findings come with the third analysis that the CFPB has done on the United States payday lending industry. Payday lenders provide unsecured loans to their customers, and typically the person who borrowers from one of these lending companies pays the lender back within a few weeks. It used to be that most payday lenders got paid back via a post-dated check. These days, though, online payday lenders usually automatically deduct the loan amount plus fees when the loan has run its term. The Obama administration has always had a disdain for this industry, and has supported the CFPB in its efforts to cook up new regulations that could potentially drive a lot of smaller lending companies out of business.

The CFPB analyzed about a year and a half’s worth of data from Automated Clearing House. This is the financial network used to put money into a borrower’s account and also to extract payment when the loan payment comes due. The data analyzed showed that some borrowers did not have adequate funds in their accounts when the loan repayment request happened, and that this – as one might expect – resulted in people getting hit with overdraft charges from their banks.

Here’s the thing, though – these fees are not charged by payday lending companies; it is the traditional banks that love to profit from imposing these fees. It is not the fault of a lender if a borrower does not live up to their end of the agreement by having adequate funds to cover the transaction in their bank accounts. No matter how much Cordray and his team want to twist these types of situations into being the fault of online payday lenders, the bottom line is that the fees are charged by the banks and happen because consumers fail to keep enough money in the bank to cover loan payments that they knowingly agreed to. End of story.

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