A group of 32 Democratic U.S. senators sent a letter to Director Cordray last week regarding the CFPB’s efforts to address payday lending in which they urged him “to issue the strongest possible rules to end the damaging effects of predatory lending.” (It is unsurprising that the letter garnered no Republican sponsors but somewhat interesting that fully 12 Democratic senators did not sign the letter.)
The senators want the CFPB’s proposed rules to require an ability-to-repay determination, a requirement the CFPB featured in its recent preview of contemplated rules and a centerpiece of rulemaking advocated by many consumer groups (such as the National Consumer Law Center and other consumer groups that supported the senators’ letter). The senators assert that lending in the absence of such a requirement “causes substantial harm to consumers.”
In its Spring 2015 agenda issued last month, the CFPB indicated that it plans to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding payday lending “later in 2015 after additional outreach and analysis.” The Democratic letter calling for tough rules does not cite any new data supporting its claims of “damaging effects” of payday lending. We continue to hope that the “additional … analysis” promised by the CFPB will include careful consideration of recent studies we have written about, which cast serious doubt on the benefit to payday loan borrowers of an ability-to-repay requirement.