Payday lenders have already had to shutter operations in areas operating under new rules. For instance, Advance America ( AEA) closed 190 stores in 26 states and the United Kingdom, while QC Holdings ( QCCO) cited forcibly discontinued operations as a reason for lower revenue in its latest quarter. The payday sector isn't immune to the recession, either, facing higher credit costs just as surging unemployment has hindered borrowers' ability to repay debt, at any interest rate. Dollar Financial ( DLLR) CEO Jeff Weiss recently noted that, while most of the company's customer base is employed in non-discretionary jobs, like "stocking shelves in grocery stores and supermarkets...with unemployment rates near 10% in all of our markets, a segment of our customer base has been moderately impacted by job losses, furloughs, and a reduction in working hours." The regulatory crackdown and economic turmoil have fostered a few trends. First, payday lenders are shifting their focus to pawnshop operations, rather than outright loans. They are also expanding abroad -- particularly in Mexico -- with Washington making consumer protection a priority. Another trend is charging higher fees in payday-friendly states until the federal regulation is passed, as well as boosting the cost of non-lending services, like pawning. While QC Holdings deals with branch closures and higher credit costs, Chief Operating Officer Darrin Andersen says "maximizing profitability at each branch is a primary goal." Payday lenders offer an assortment of services to those in need of quick cash. Customers can cash checks; get advances on paychecks that are coming in a week or two; receive title loans for cars; or pawn personal property. Some companies also have "rent-to-own" furniture programs.
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.