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Nevada AG Calls on Feds to Protect Consumers from Abusive Lenders

The CFPB is preparing to rescind a set of rules on payday lenders that were finalized in 2017 but never went into effect. (Griffith Center For Economic Integrity)
The CFPB is preparing to rescind a set of rules on payday lenders that were finalized in 2017 but never went into effect. (Griffith Center For Economic Integrity)
March 21, 2019

CARSON CITY, Nev. – Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford is calling on the Trump administration to allow Obama-era rules on payday lending to take effect.

Ford and 25 other state attorneys general sent a letter asking the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to stop delaying a rule that would force payday and title lenders to actually consider whether borrowers have the ability to pay back the loan.

Sophia Romero, a staff attorney at Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, applauds the efforts, saying low-income Nevadans are getting stuck in an unending cycle of debt with these ultra-high interest revolving loans.

"We see consumers who have been abused by payday lenders who are failing to follow current statutes on a regular basis,” Romero states. “And we are happy that the AG's office is getting involved as well as the state Legislature."

On Wednesday, the Legislature held a hearing on SB 201 – a bill that would direct the state to set up a database to help enforce existing laws.

Lenders argue that a database could lead to job losses in their industry and be vulnerable to hackers.

The CFPB says payday and title loans are a bridge that give needy families access to capital and expand their financial choices.

Romero counters that abusive lending practices cause real suffering.

"We've seen people who have title loans who have paid much more than twice the value of their current vehicle, yet they still owe thousands of dollars to the title loan company because the title loan has been extended past the initial 210-day maximum period and the borrower is never able to get out from under that debt," she points out.

The CFPB's own statistics show that 90 percent of all loan fees come from consumers who borrow seven or more times in a year. And 20 percent of payday loans and a third of single-payment auto title loans end in default.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NV