One Payday Loan Buries the Borrower, CFPB Warns

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- While industry executives protest, it's becoming clear payday loans are a financial burden on regular Americans.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has been particularly aggressive in alerting consumers to the dangers of payday loans, including saying in a report out last week that:

  • More than 80% of payday loans are rolled over or followed by another loan within 14 days.
  • Half of all loans are in a sequence at least 10 loans long.
  • Consumers are having a tough time playing "catchup" with their loans. Few borrowers amortize, or have reductions in principal amounts, between the first and last loan of a loan sequence.
  • The more loans you take, the harder it is to stay above water. According to the agency, payday loan size is more likely to go up in longer loan sequences, and principal increases are associated with higher default rates.
  • Monthly borrowers are disproportionately likely to stay in debt for 11 months or longer.

Overall, the CFPB reports that the average payday loan consumer remains in debt to a loan provider for 196 days -- more than half the calendar year.

That represents a big burden for payday loan recipients, who often pay up to 521% interest for a typical two-week payday loan, according to the Center for Responsible Lending.

"Repeat borrowing is a symptom of a borrower's fundamental inability to repay a payday loan," says Tom Feltner, director of financial services at the Consumer Federation of America. "Regardless of the term or structure of a payday loan, if back-to-back usage is frequent and lenders direct access to a bank account, borrowers are at risk. Ability to repay, not the ability to collect, should be the standard going forward."

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