Pew Blasts CFPB For Reversal On Payday Lending

Midnight on the 15th ended the CFPB’s comment period on its proposal to rescind the payday loan rule to protect borrowers that it had finalized in 2017.Pew said the CFPB rule on payday ending could save consumers billions.

“Pew is deeply concerned that the Bureau’s proposal to rescind the ability-to-repay provisions it finalized in 2017 will harm consumers and dissuade lenders from providing affordable credit at scale.”

Pew took issue with the Republican-controlled CFPB’s assertion that the rule developed under the Obama administration would restrict access to credit.

“The Bureau’s 2019 proposal neglected to account for the provision of installment loans and lines of credit in its assessment, repeatedly and incorrectly equating a reduction in the number of short-term balloon payment loans with a decrease in access to credit generally. In addition to continued payday and vehicle title lending, installment lenders, banks, credit unions and financial technology firms have said that they are also ready and willing to extend access to credit under the 2017 final rule, and they are likely to expand their small-dollar lending —something the Bureau failed to address.”

The Bureau’s 2019 commentary justifying revoking the rule is dishonest, Pew said, in somewhat more diplomatic language.

“The Bureau repeatedly paraphrased the rule’s language in ways that substantially change its meaning…The 2019 proposal has ignored the foundational rationale for the 2017 rule, failed to refute or reinterpret the bulk of research underpinning it, and has also mischaracterized the rule as being largely based on a concern about borrowers’ expectations at the time a first loan is originated….the 2017 rule’s safeguards provide a level playing field and regulatory certainty for lenders, along with strong protections for consumers, while maintaining widespread access to credit.”

The bureau’s action is not much of a surprise. Republicans have opposed the CFPB since Elizabeth Warren first proposed it. CNBC reported that “Since 2011, the CFPB has received more than 1.2 million consumer complaints about their dealings with financial firms. It has returned nearly $12 billion to 29 million people wronged by financial institutions, including credit card companies and banks. Most of the complaints received by the agency relate to debt collection (27 percent) and mortgages (23 percent).”

The billions saved or return come out of the profits of payday lenders and the money center banks which provide their funds while staying a long arm’s reach away from the payday business.

 

 

About Tom Groenfeldt

I write - mostly about finance and technology, sometimes about art, occasionally about politics and the intersection of politics and economics. My work appears on Forbes.com and International Finance Magazine. The Financial Brand ranked me 20 on a list of the top 25 global influencers in financial services and Jay Palter included me in his list of 250 fintech influencers to follow in 2016 http://bit.ly/1SSRXC6
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