August Beach Read Series: Increasing Scrutiny of Short-Term, Small-Dollar Credit Products

Posted on August 22nd, 2013 in Consumer Finance, Federal Issues, State Issues By BuckleySandler

The interest of regulators and enforcement authorities in short-term, small-dollar credit products – including payday loans, advance deposit products, installment loans, and more – has intensified in 2013. State and federal authorities have taken numerous actions to enforce existing law and to develop new rules for these products.

Earlier this year we reported on the DOJ’s prioritization of this area of consumer finance, and we have since reported on many other state and federal developments, including those related to state enforcement of licensing and usury laws against online lenders, federal regulators’ scrutiny of advance deposit products and payday loans, congressional interest in small dollar loans (here and here), and the Department of Defense’s potential expansion of the Military Lending Act.

With regard to this last issue, BuckleySandler Partners Kirk Jensen and Valerie Hletko recently examined the DOD’s advance notice of proposed rulemaking related to installment loans used by members of the armed forces and their families. The authors point out that the DOD’s interest in installment loans is emblematic of the scrutiny of short-term, small-dollar credit products, which appear to be increasingly vexing to regulators who recognize widespread demand for them but are concerned that such products may create a high-cost borrowing cycle.

In a 2012 article Partners John Kromer and Valerie Hletko previewed the CFPB’s interest in these products and identified some best practices for short-term, small-dollar lenders.

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