CFPB's Proposed Rule Would Protect the Lifeblood of Small Businesses

The CFPB’s Proposed Rule Would Protect Consumers, the Lifeblood our Businesses

Payday and car title lenders extract wealth from our communities and put downward pressure on our local economies, hurting small businesses and our customer base

Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) proposed federal rules that would regulate the small-dollar loan industry, including predatory payday, payday installment, and car title lenders. While the CFPB lacks the authority to ban these loans, they have taken steps to set terms that are substantially better than what has been allowed to date.

Payday loans provide small loan amounts to individuals who are in a financial emergency and have few other options. These loans typically carry percentage rates (APR) of at least 300%, have no necessary underwriting, and short repayment terms. Because of their high fees, the typical borrower takes out eight loans a year and ends up spending about $520 in interest on an average loan of $375. That is $520 that could have been spent at local businesses, taxed by state governments, and used to fuel local economic growth. 

To maintain a healthy and vibrant business climate, it is necessary to establish a strong set of rules that ensure our customer's buying power is not exhausted by high-interest rates and that borrowers are not trapped in perpetual repayment cycles. The proposed rule is a critical first step in protecting against predatory lending, but it must be strengthened, loopholes need to be closed, and states must continue to cap interest rates as part of ongoing efforts to protect consumers from high-cost, predatory lending. 

"Payday and car title loans are predatory because they are designed to lock consumers into a cycle of increasing debt, siphoning off money that would otherwise be spent in the community. This hurts the shops and restaurants on Main Street that depend on a strong local customer base," says Amanda Ballantyne, National Director of the Main Street Alliance.

"We applaud the CFPB for issuing its proposed rule that reins in predatory lending, protects my customers and employees from the perpetual cycle of debt created by payday and car title lending, and returns the wealth of communities to the consumers that drive small business growth," says David Borris, owner of Hel's Kitchen Catering in Chicago, IL and Main Street Alliance Executive Committee member. 

"The damage caused by payday and car title loans extends well beyond the borrower. The ripple effects of these loans halt the economic potential of my community, making it difficult to strengthen and maintain the healthy economy that my business depends on,"says Jim Houser, owner of Hawthorne Auto Clinic in Portland, OR and Main Street Alliance Executive Committee member.