Price regulation in the United States has caused unintended consequences. Before a regulation policy took effect in Colorado, prices of payday finance charges were loosely distributed around a market equilibrium. The imposition of a price ceiling above this equilibrium served as a target where competitors could agree to raise their prices. This weakened competition and caused the development of cartel behavior. Because payday loans near minority neighborhoods and military bases are likely to have inelastic demand, this artificially higher price doesn't come with a lower quantity demanded for loans, allowing lenders to charge higher prices without losing many customers.
Some alternative payday loan companies market themselves as more socially responsible than traditional payday lenders because they offer better terms. They also want to help consumers rebuild their shaky credit and make payments on time. For instance, LendUp provides financial education and rewards existing borrowers who repay their loans to be eligible for loans at larger amounts and lower rates. Fig Loans only charges fees to cover the costs of the loan.
These arguments are countered in two ways. First, the history of borrowers turning to illegal or dangerous sources of credit seems to have little basis in fact according to Robert Mayer's 2012 "Loan Sharks, Interest-Rate Caps, and Deregulation". Outside of specific contexts, interest rates caps had the effect of allowing small loans in most areas without an increase of "loan sharking". Next, since 80% of payday borrowers will roll their loan over at least one time  because their income prevents them from paying the principal within the repayment period, they often report turning to friends or family members to help repay the loan  according to a 2012 report from the Center for Financial Services Innovation. In addition, there appears to be no evidence of unmet demand for small dollar credit in states which prohibit or strictly limit payday lending.
In 2006, Congress passed a law capping the annualized rate at 36 percent that lenders could charge members of the military. Even with these regulations and efforts to even outright ban the industry, lenders are still finding loopholes. The number of states in which payday lenders operate has fallen, from its peak in 2014 of 44 states to 36 in 2016.
Rolling over debt is a process in which the borrower extends the length of their debt into the next period, generally with a fee while still accruing interest. An empirical study published in The Journal of Consumer Affairs found that low income individuals who reside in states that permit three or more rollovers were more likely to use payday lenders and pawnshops to supplement their income. The study also found that higher income individuals are more likely to use payday lenders in areas that permit rollovers. The article argues that payday loan rollovers lead low income individuals into a debt-cycle where they will need to borrow additional funds to pay the fees associated with the debt rollover. Of the states that allow payday lending, 22 states do not allow borrowers to rollover their debt and only three states allow unlimited rollovers. States that allow unlimited rollovers leave the number of rollovers allowed up to the individual businesses.
Cordray worked on changing rules on payday lending on a national level when he was the first director of the federal Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. The bureau finalized rules on payday lending in October 2017, several weeks before he resigned to run for governor. Cordray has attacked his successor, Mick Mulvaney, for attempting to roll back the rules.
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