Monday, March 12, 2007

Payday Lenders-Is there a special place in hell?

Some claim--without laughing hysterically--that payday loans provide important sources of temporary cash to those in need who don't otherwise qualify for convential financing. Sounds great. But then there's the whole interest thing. Buried on page 2 in a droning prose is this jewel about payday loans from the Oregon Division of Finance and Corporate Securities:

"Borrowers usually look at the cost per $100 borrowed; however, the APR, which typically ranges from 391 percent to 520 percent, is useful for comparing the cost of payday loans to costs of other types of credit. Oregon law requires that lenders clearly post the APR for a typical payday loan in their office where customers can easily see it."

State of Oregon, Div. of Finance and Corp. Securities, Payday Loans in Oregon, p. 2 copy at

Ohmigod: interest of 391 percent. Surely that would be against the law. Not until recently. In 2006, Oregon passed a law limiting payday loan interest rates to 36 percent. Something seems wrong if that's the best we can do in regulating those who prey on the most desparate. ORS 725.622 became effective January 1, 2007. I have yet to hear of any payday lenders closing shop because of this modest effort to limit usury. Let's hope that their day comes.

David F. Sugerman
Paul & Sugerman, PC

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