We have officially reached a point where a good number of people are all too aware that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is on a mission to cripple – possibly even eliminate – the payday lending industry. The CFPB officially released its proposed regulations for this industry earlier this summer, and it seems that the Bureau and the payday lending industry are on a collision course. There are some things about payday lending that the CFPB would probably rather that you did not know about.
Are Payday Loans Predatory
When you think of a predator, you probably think of a vicious, wild animal that hunts down defenseless creatures in the wild. This is a pretty brutal picture, right? It’s easy to understand why the CFPB continues to refer to payday lenders as being predatory. They want people to picture huge lending companies that are mercilessly making life difficult for the poorer people of this country. The truth, however, doesn’t seem to indicate that payday lenders are predators at all.
The CFPB has been collecting consumer complaints via an online database for several years now. Consumers are allowed to log complaints about every type of financial service/product from their local banks to debt collectors. They are also able to log complaints about payday lending companies. If payday lenders are really preying on people, you’d think that a lot of those people would be doing everything they could to make it stop. That means that we would expect to see tens of thousands of complaints about payday lending in the CFPB’s official database.
That’s not what we’ve seen, though. Payday loan complaints make up a miniscule amount of total complaints logged thus far. As a matter of fact, complaints about payday lending companies account for far less than 1 percent of the total complaints logged to date. But there are plenty of complaints in the database that people have taken the time to officially submit. Mortgage lenders, debt collectors and even credit card companies have managed to be the most complained-about topics so far.
One would have to assume that if the CFPB is receiving more complaints about mortgage loans, credit cards and other types of financial products/services that the Bureau would focus on doing what they can to introduce rules that those industries must adhere to; rules that would more effectively protect consumers. But what are they doing instead? They have focused a lot of time, energy and money on regulating an industry at the federal level that is already regulated quite effectively at the state-level.
What we have here is another case of an arm of the federal government sticking its nose where it doesn’t belong. If payday loans were such a huge problem – if payday lenders were predators – then people (to the tune of about 10 million to 12 million per year) would not be going back to these lenders, and they would certainly be logging complaints about being preyed upon.
Could it be that the larger lending companies can afford to do what they want because they have more money and maybe even help to prop up the political careers of certain elected officials? Maybe. Could it be that since the CFPB has been nothing more than a puppet for the Obama administration (and Obama has gone on record about his personal disdain for payday loans) that the group is simply using its power to toe the line, so to speak? People need money for emergency expenses. Payday lenders are often the only resource that lower income households can turn to. Complaints about the industry from real people are minimal. SO why the continued focus on an industry that supplies a legitimate service and that consumers are obviously not against? These are the kinds of questions that need to be brought to the table, and the CFPB must answer them if it hopes to maintain any semblance of being a legitimate protector of American consumers.