CFPB Issues Report on Payday and Installment Loans; Director Cordray Weighs in on Online Lending Industry
On April 20, the CFPB issued a report titled “Online Payday Loan Payments,” which covers an 18-month period in 2011 and 2012 and examines how online lenders’ attempts to recover debts are affecting consumers. Also on April 20, the CFPB held a press call during which Director Cordray delivered remarks regarding the small-dollar lending market, specifically focusing on findings included in the simultaneously released report. According to Director Cordray, online payday lenders have considerable power over consumers’ bank accounts because they use automated networks to deposit loans and collect payments, which often results in banks or credit unions charging consumers overdraft and non-sufficient funds fees. Director Cordray further summarized key findings from the report, including, but not limited to: (i) half of online consumers incurring an average of $185 in bank penalties – in addition to the penalties imposed by the lenders and the average annualized interest rate of 300% to 500% – as a result of reoccurring failed debits made by online payday lenders; (ii) one-third of online consumers losing their checking or savings accounts due to overdraft and non-sufficient funds fees; and (iii) consumers facing “hefty bank fee[s]” due to lenders’ repeated debit requests, despite the fact that second payment requests have a 70% failure rate, with third or subsequent payment attempts failing at an even higher rate. Director Cordray concluded by emphasizing that the CFPB’s “process of reforming the market for small-dollar loans” is ongoing, and that the CFPB will consider the data from the report as it prepares new regulations to address the industry.