Canton, Ohio is a city that is very much a typical American town. There are about 73,000 people living in Canton. It is also known for being the home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and is known for having a thriving art scene in the downtown area. You may not know it, but Canton is also a city that serves as the nerve center of the payday lending industry. These smaller dollar loans allow people to borrow money for emergency expenses and to pay the lending company back a few weeks later. There are a lot of lenders in Canton, and a lot of people who regularly borrow money from these lenders.
Tanya Alazaus is the manager of a payday lending store in Canton. During a typical business day she sees a lot of regular customers and works hard to make sure that people get the financial services and products that they need to get by. Alazaus is a lot like any business manager or owner, and she works hard to make sure her customers get great service. It is her job. One that may be in danger if new payday lending limitations get put into place.
Federal regulators are on a mission to crack down hard on businesses just like the one that Tanya manages. They consider payday lenders to be predatory and are coming up with new regulations that will likely lead to a serious decline in the overall volume of loans given each year. Additionally, the new payday lending regulations will probably force thousands of lending locations to close their doors for good.
The main agency that is working hard to over-regulate the payday lending industry is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This agency has drafted new rules for payday lenders that will lead to greater overhead costs associated with providing loans, and that will put a cap on how many loans people are allowed to take out over the course of the year. These two repercussions alone are likely going to spell disaster for small lending companies, like those that help to prop up the economy in Canton, Ohio.
Many lenders are worried about what will happen to their customers if they are unable to get payday loans in the future. Ms. Alazaus said, “My customers look forward to being able to walk in here for their short-term needs. They would rather use us than things like credit cards, and most don’t even have the ability to use those.”
Ohio is a state that has some of the highest per-capita payday lending usage in the country. It is a state with more payday lending locations than it has McDonald’s franchises. There are already at least 14 states that have banned payday lending altogether. Ohio may soon join theses states in restricting payday loans completely. Factor that in with the federal regulations that the CFPB has been proposing, and it is easy to see the writing on the wall.
No one from the regulatory side of the house, though, seems willing to admit that imposing strict regulations on payday lenders is really going to only punish lower income American consumers at the end of the day. These are the people who depend on payday loans the most, and many of them have no alternative lenders to turn to when they are in need of emergency cash. If states, like Ohio, restrict payday lending, consumers are sure to suffer and people are going to needlessly lose their jobs. Makes you wonder just who the CFPB and other groups against free market concepts are really trying to protect.