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Ohio Justices: Payday Loans Legal Despite 2008 Law « CBS …

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Federal regulators set sights on Tennessee's payday lending industry

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CFPB Director Richard Corday

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REGULATORS SET SIGHTS ON TENNESSEE

What: Field hearing on payday lending

Where: Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville

When: 11 a.m. central time

WHAT IS A PAYDAY LOAN?

• Payday loans were developed to provide small loans to consumers to meet a short-term need.

• Consumers who take out these loans are usually required to repay them from their next paycheck.

• According to reports from industry analysts, about 12 million American adults are currently choosing to borrow money through payday loans.

• Such loans, which are not secured through a car or a home like normal loans, often carry annual percentage rates approaching 400 percent.

WHO’S INVOLVED

Richard Cordray, director of the CFPB

Bob Cooper, attorney general of Tennessee

D. Lynn DeVault, board member of Check into Cash

Jamie Fulmer, senior vice president for public affairs, Access America

Oneshia Herring, legislative counsel, Center for Responsible Lending

Source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Federal regulators and Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper will meet with the public, payday lending officials and consumer advocates in Nashville today as part of a push to further regulate the payday lending industry and cut back on so-called “debt traps” that mire consumers in a cycle of poverty.

Richard Cordray, director of the newly-created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, will release a study — purportedly the most in-depth analysis to date — showing that four out of five payday loans are rolled over or renewed every 14 days. In many instances, borrowers end up paying more in fees than the amount of money they originally borrowed.

The study is drawn from a 12-month period covering more than 12 million loan transactions. Under Cordray, the CFPB began supervising the payday lending market in January 2012 and started accepting complaints from borrowers in November 2013.

In his prepared remarks for today’s hearing, Cordray said he chose Tennessee for this particular field hearing “because of the prevalence of payday lenders both here and in many of the neighboring states.”

Cordray said that roughly half of all loans are made to borrowers in loan sequences lasting ten or more loans in a row.

“From this finding, one could readily conclude that the business model of the payday industry depends on people becoming stuck in these loans for the long term, since almost half their business comes from people who are basically paying high-cost rent on the amount of their original loan,” Corday said in his remarks.

Regulatory agencies often release such studies ahead of new rules clamping down on groups of businesses.

“As we look ahead to our next steps, I will frankly say that we are now in the late stages of our considerations about how we can formulate new rules to bring needed reforms to this market,” Cordray said. “So we intend to make sure that consumers who can afford to take out small-dollar loans can get the credit they need without jeopardizing or undermining their financial futures. But we also need to recognize that loan products which routinely lead consumers into debt traps should have no place in their lives.”

In addition to regulators and consumer advocates, the hearing will also include members of the payday loan industry, such as Cleveland, Tenn.-based Check into Cash.

Check Into Cash is the nation’s largest privately held payday lender with more than 1,200 offices nationwide offering payday, title and other consumer loans, along with check cashing services. Allan Jones, the company’s founder and CEO, calls his company “a happy business” that “fills a real consumer need” for short-term cash. On a typical Friday, more than 75,000 Americans are in one of Jones’ stores paying on a loan or borrowing more money.

“We’ve been in business for over 20 years and we haven’t had any consumers, to my knowledge, ever complain about our business,” Jones said. “Our consumers love us and so-called consumer groups hate us. Consumer groups want us to spend more time thinking about our consumers. Well, that’s all we’ve ever done — we talk with them, we listen to them and we give them the services they want and need.”

Contact Ellis Smith at esmith@timesfreepress.com or at 757-6315.

[…]

Running on empty and how to avoid payday loans … – Penny Golightly

Image how-to-avoid-payday-loans-300x150.jpg

My personal financial situation has been rather tricky for the last three and a half months. However, this is not a big moan about that, far from it. Instead, I’ve realised that a lot of other people might be finding themselves in similar circumstances – and that my experiences could perhaps help others from getting caught up in what I see as The Debt Trap.

How did I get into this situation?

I chose it, and while it’s hard in the short term it will be much better for me in the longer term. That’s why I don’t feel sorry for myself – it was a sensible, deliberate decision. As a freelancer, most of my income is irregular, and this was making it hard to save up or make major plans for the future. That’s why I decided to take on a part time-editing job that paid a regular monthly wage, but still allowed me to be my own boss as an independent contractor.

So far, so good. I was going to be getting the best of both worlds in many ways, and could still go after the best freelance jobs, pitch projects, and do all those other things that I love doing. What was the catch? Ah, well, the catch was that because of the new company’s payment processes, I was going to have to wait three months and three weeks for my first proper pay packet. A long time to be running on half-empty.

Part of it was due to their slightly odd invoicing and processing system, and part of it was bad luck – starting the new job at exactly the wrong point of the payment cycle. With a standard job, I’d generally suggest that a discreet word with the boss about a small wage advance would be a good idea, but unfortunately that wasn’t possible in my situation. At least I knew what I was letting myself in for though, so I had the opportunity to plan ahead.

After this job eventually finishes I’ll still have three wage packets to collect, and I’m really quite happy about that. Like I said, I made my choice. However, I’m fully aware that many people have ‘running on empty’ circumstances forced upon them, such as job losses, non-paying or dishonest clients, illness, relationship breakdowns and so on. It’s extremely stressful, and it can make you vulnerable to those who prey on the desperate.

The Debt Trap

It’s amazingly easy to fall into the debt trap. Say you’re on a low or irregular income and have no savings. An unexpected expense arrives or you have an unexpected drop in income, and you go over your overdraft limit without realising it – then the bank hits you with interest charges plus a fine. You don’t have enough resources to pay the fine off, which leads to more interest charges and another fine… (okay, you may be able to negotiate with your bank at this point, but not always)

Or, you are trying hard to avoid overdraft charges and bank fines, so you take out a payday loan to cover a shortfall. You pay the loan plus the very high interest fee back four days later, but you run out of money again before the next payday and you take out another payday loan. This time you can’t pay it all back, and you get hit with a whole month of high interest fees by the loan company. Three or four months down the line and the interest payment alone comes to more than your monthly wage…

Or you can’t pay the minimum fee on your credit card so you get hit with cumulative interest charges which start to snowball… and so on, and so on. With very high interest borrowing and fines for non-payment, you can find yourself deep in a hole that’s very difficult indeed to get out of.

Understandably, I was anxious to stay out of this situation if at all possible.

How I avoided payday loans & other toxic debt

Your mileage may vary if you find yourself in a similar situation, but here’s my personal experience and action plan.

The emergency fund: Yes, I’m the sort of person who has an emergency fund in an instant-access account. I got through the worst of this by dipping into my savings. Meanwhile, I’m aware that an emergency fund to some extent is a luxury that many people don’t have, and saying ‘you should have had one’ after the event is entirely unhelpful, so on with the show.

Monitoring and awareness: I checked my bank balance pretty much every day, so I could see potential problems as they arose and could react accordingly. I knew how much I had available to spend, exactly how much free/arranged overdraft facility I had to work with, how much any interest charges or fines would be if I messed up, which bills came out regularly and how much they were, and I knew to the nearest £1 how much I had in my purse. When things are grim it may feel easier not to look, but being aware is the first step in being in control – so look, even if it’s scary.

Budgeting and planning: I’ve been setting weekly budgets and creating meal plans to keep the spending in check. I’ve also carried out three successful Tenner Week challenges. These actions have been the key to the whole thing, really. I write about subjects like this a lot, so won’t go on about it too much here, but I will say this: it’s essential that you estimate your likely essential outgoings, make a realistic budget and a meal plan, and stick to it.

Additional income: I still had freelance money coming in here and there, and was taking on some new freelance work and working evenings and weekends, but I knew I shouldn’t count on it being paid on time. If I didn’t freelance, I had the option of taking on some part time casual work. I also sold things via eBay and MusicMagpie, and did paid surveys that pay out in cash or by PayPal. When I did make purchases I used cashback sites whenever that gave the best deal, and the cashback I earned all cleared during the timeframe so I’ve had it paid into my current account. While supermarket loyalty points tend to give you the best value if you save them up and spend them on special offers, I’ve used mine recently to pay for groceries to reduce other outlay.

Making the most of my resources: My situation is that I have some contacts who could help me get some more work, contacts who can get me discounts, a kitchen garden and freezer full of healthy food, some skills and things lying around that I can sell, a knack for finding freebies, and the back of an envelope to write my budgets and shopping lists down on. Have a really good think about your own resources: what are they, how can they help you earn, and how can they help you save? Use them, pull out all the stops.

‘Free borrowing’: I have a small amount of interest free overdraft, and have gone part way into it this month. I’ve also recently put a small amount of borrowing onto my credit card – a card that has a long-interest free period (always read the small print as many don’t have this), which I usually pay off fully every month to completely avoid charges. I’ve kept the amount borrowed as small as I can, and have specific plans for paying it off starting next week, so it’s a good temporary solution for my particular circumstances. The catch with interest-free borrowing is that if you mess up the repayments for whatever reason, you will definitely end up paying interest, so you need to be sure you can fully control it before taking it on.

Being honest, and saying no: While I haven’t publicly been broadcasting my situation to all and sundry, I have been honest with individual people, and turned down various events and invitations. I’ve also left one or two occasions early, or arrived late, to avoid expensive meals and drinks bills. Yes, it’s potentially awkward, but the way I see it is that plenty of people are in the same situation or have it worse, and decent people understand if your finances are not currently going to stretch to this or that. The trick is to make sure they know that you’re avoiding situations for money reasons, rather than avoiding them for personal reasons. You can often come up with alternative, cheaper ideas, or postpone certain meetings, but when the time is right, you just have to be honest and say ‘sorry, I can’t do this right now’.

Cutting back: I’ve cut out a lot of spending. For example, I’m not one for spray tans and eyelash extensions in the first place, but I have gone without a haircut for sixteen weeks. Okay, so I don’t like that at all and am starting to look like a cheeky little yeti, but it isn’t the end of the world and it certainly beats the alternative. Plus I will definitely be getting paid before I completely transform into Cousin It, hopefully. Chop out as many non-essential things from your spending as you can take, until the situation improves. Tell yourself it isn’t forever, and don’t put temptation in your own way by reading glossy magazines and going window shopping.

So there you have it. I’ve made it through over three and a half months of running on half-empty, and that’s how I’ve managed to stay out of The Debt Trap. And if my story helps even one other person to do the same, it’s been worth writing it all down.

Payday’s next week. Of course there will be a risk of getting a bad case of Payday Splurge Syndrome, but that’s a whole separate article.

Other articles you might be interested in

Payday loans advice guide from Citizens Advice Alternatives to payday loans by StepChange Debt Charity […]

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New Payday Loans Service Offers Free Advice on Responsible Borrowing

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[…]

‘New Payday Loans Popular Options Will Be Available Shortly’ Says John Mulligan from fastpaydayloans.ws/

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[…]