NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Things have gotten harder this year, not just for cash-starved consumers, but also for a segment of the lending industry that has been yearning to provide them with credit, albeit at a high cost: The payday set. State lawmakers have cracked down on payday lending and the prospect of more oversight in the form of a new consumer protection agency looms on the horizon. At the end of 2008, 15 states had either tight restrictions or outright bans on payday loans, a term that typically refers to immediate cash advances on checks sought by people who don't have traditional bank accounts. So far this year Virginia and South Carolina have joined their ranks, while others, like Missouri, Wisconsin and Colorado, are considering such a move. Other states have tightened restrictions, including Delaware -- the Disneyland of the banking world, known for its lax regulation -- which is forcing payday lenders to fund financial-education classes and advertising for low-cost, "community" lending programs. The other whammy that could come hit the industry is federal regulatory reform. The consumer protection agency proposed by the Obama administration is working its way through Congress, and it's sure to take a hard look at payday lenders if it comes into being. Some proposals have suggested capping interest rates at 36%, just a sliver of a typical payday loan rate.
The ex-dividend date for Advance America Cash Advance Centers (NYSE:AEA) is tomorrow, February 23, 2012. Owners of shares as of market close today will be eligible for a dividend of 6 cents per share. At a price of $10.41 as of 10 a.m., the dividend yield is 2.4%.
Advance America Cash Advance Centers (NYSE:AEA) is trading at unusually high volume Thursday with 16.6 million shares changing hands. It is currently at 30.9 times its average daily volume and trading up $2.59 (+32.7%).
Advance America Cash Advance Centers (NYSE:AEA) hit a new 52-week high Tuesday as it is currently trading at $9.39, above its previous 52-week high of $9.32 with 352,353 shares traded as of 1:34 p.m. ET. Average volume has been 534,400 shares over the past 30 days.