Payday loans only delay trouble

In all the back and forth on payday loans in the press and blogosphere, a study titled NC Consumers after Payday Lending by the Center for Community Capital at Univ. of North Carolina does seem to be getting as much play as it should. Though the Community Financial Services Association of America (CFSA), the trade association for the payday lending industry took notice and immediately tried to spin the findings.

Among its findings are these nuggets:

  • The majority of focus group participants report that they initially took out payday loans because they experienced some type of financial shock — an unexpected loss of income or extra expenses, such as job losses and medical expenses.
  • The predominant reason given for turning to payday loans was that they were quick and easy to obtain.
  • Among frequent borrowers, most reported that the payday loan did not resolve, but merely delayed, the financial problem that caused them to take out the loan initially.
  • All focus group participants said they had expected to repay their initial loan within two weeks; however, more than half of them said they rolled over the initial loan several times. Some reported taking up to a year to pay it off.

Center researchers concluded that the absence of payday lending has had no significant negative impact on credit availability for North Carolina consumers.