The Community Financial Services Association of America (CFSA) released the following statement in response to the latest report from Pew Charitable Trusts' Safe, Small Dollar Loans Research Project:
"We welcome Pew's interest in having a meaningful dialogue regarding the need for short-term, small-dollar credit. However, Pew's research in this area continues to lack vital context about the broader marketplace and the lack of available credit options, the importance of consumer choice, and why 19 million Americans use payday loans each year.
"Short-term credit products are an important financial tool for individuals who need funds to pay for an unexpected expense or manage a shortfall between paychecks. Borrowers who choose to use payday loans may do so to avoid bouncing checks, paying overdraft protection fees, incurring late payment penalties, or turning to other credit options that can actually be more expensive than CFSA-member loans. The typical fee charged by CFSA members is $15 per $100 borrowed.
"Pew unfairly paints the entire industry with a broad brush, overlooking the fact that CFSA members are licensed lenders and comply with all state and federal laws. Further, CFSA members adhere to a strict set of mandatory Best Practices that ensure their loans are safe, reliable and provide important consumer protections. For instance, CFSA members provide an Extended Payment Plan, at no additional charge, if customers cannot repay their loan when due.
"In our current economy and constricted credit market, it is critical that consumers have the credit options they need to deal with their financial challenges. We encourage Pew to join us in a constructive dialogue about how to advance solutions for the growing number of Americans who lack access to credit and desire choices, protections and a path to greater financial security."
Amy Cantu, Communications Director