To say that viewpoints are polarized these days would be an understatement. On just about every subject imaginable – from pop music to politics – people have opinions. And often, the opinion that someone has on a topic puts them in direct opposition of the folks who don’t share that opinion. One only has to look at how Democrats and Republicans usually face off on various topics in order to understand how all of this works. Keeping in mind how people tend to cling to their opinion, and write off people who are on the opposite side of the fence makes it easy to understand why payday lending is such a hotly debated topic.
On one side you have consumer advocates and others who are opposed to payday lending. They believe that payday lenders charge too much for their services and that the lending companies play a part in trapping their customers in cycles of debt. On the other side, there are payday lenders, their customers and those who support this industry. The lenders are business owners that believe they offer valuable services to consumers that are underserved by traditional banks. The customers are people who need access to fast money, and who have turned to payday lenders for these services. And the supporters of this industry come from a wide range of backgrounds, with most of them sharing a strong belief in offering choice to consumers and the American entrepreneurial spirit.
The Biggest Threat to Payday Lending
You can choose to be on either side; that’s one of the great things about this country. But there is one group that is the biggest advocate of eliminating payday lending completely – the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (aka the CFPB.) This government group is in charge of protecting consumers from financial misdeeds and shady business practices. And while they certainly do that, the CFPB has been on a serious quest to rid the country of payday lending and other forms of short term loans that operate outside the realm of traditional banking. The CFPB is currently poised to unleash new, stricter regulations that many believe will ring the death knoll for the payday loans industry.
Surprising Support for the Payday Lending Industry
For a while, it seemed like only a handful of elected Republican officials had an interest in protecting the payday lending industry. However, in recent months key Democrat leaders have stepped up and joined in bipartisan steps to help delay/prevent the new CFPB regulations from taking effect. Many people believed that the payday lending industry was as good as done for until officials from both sides of the aisle began to talk common sense about the issue and started working together to formulate legislation that would work to stop the CFPB from enacting its new regulations. This is still a work in progress, but it demonstrates that even those who tend to lean toward liberal political affiliations can have a change of heart. As to where these bipartisan efforts will ultimately lead is something that everyone will have to keep an eye on in upcoming months.
The debate about payday loans will likely continue regardless of whether or not the CFPB is successful in implementing its new regulations. However, for those that ardently support a free market, choices for American consumers in the financial market and the ability for low income consumers to get access to short term, small dollar lines of credit, the hope is that bipartisan efforts to quell the CFPB turn out to be successful.