A new law that has been written into the books this year may interfere with the ability of many to get emergency funds by limiting access to payday loans across the state of Washington. The law which officially took effect January 1, 2010, has already received some seriously mixed reviews from both sides of the debate. Many are wondering whether the new legislation, which drastically affects the payday loans industry in the state, will be helpful or if it will be a hindrance for both the borrowers and lenders who rely on such services on a regular basis.
Legislation began as a result of years of bitter fighting between the payday loans industry and consumer advocate groups who were concerned about the potential risk for abuse and dependency from borrowers and loaners alike. The main idea is to set strict limits on what consumers can borrow and provide them with more payment options. The objective of the new law is to encourage borrowers to step up and take more responsibility for their monthly budget and get their debt under control. What lawmakers fail to take into account is that many consumers honestly need the money and feel the sting of the recent legislation. Lawmakers shouldn’t have the right to tell people how they spend their own money. It isn’t the government’s place to baby sit people after all.
The new law requires payday lenders to be more lenient on receiving payment by forcing them to provide a payment plan rather than requiring to be paid in a one lump sum. Unfortunately for consumers, the new law severely limits the amount of money a person can borrow and places a cap on the number of payday loans one can rapid cash loans take out in a given year. The new limit makes it so that loaners cannot provide consumers with a loan that exceeds either $700 or 30% of their total monthly income before expenses, whichever amounts to more. It will also require a database to be setup that requires all loans to be reported and recorded by the state to make sure that no one is taking advantage of the system. That means less privacy for everyone.
The bill has so far been met with much disdain from the industry itself as many claim that it will not only undercut their business, but may even force many payday loans businesses to close their doors permanently. This is due in part to the fact that a large part of the payday loans industry relies on consistent borrowers who offer return business for such establishments. It’s been initially estimated that the new laws could cost the industry as much as $100 million in revenue from fees within the first year. This could seriously cripple an industry that has seen monumental growth since it first began to really thrive in the nineties.
The advocate’s however are excited about this victory in their road to limit short term high interest lending practices. What they don’t realize is that even though they may limit the ability of payday loan establishments to provide liberal amounts of cash loans, it will not limit the demand for such services. It is more likely that the desperate will have to look elsewhere for their quick cash needs. This could result in more people taking out online loans which send money outside their local community or force them to go about getting the money by more shady means, such as the black market.
While the exact implications of the law’s passage can be argued one way or the other, the facts are that it is the new reality for the people of Washington. They are not the first state to get strict about payday loaning practices either. It appears that even as the payday loan industry continues to enjoy rapid growth nationwide, more states may jump on the band wagon to limit their practice in one form or another. Most creditors are holding tightly onto the reins when it comes to who they are willing to provide services for. Limiting the one viable option for those with lousy credit may prove to be disastrous for some.
Some may wonder what lawmakers were thinking when they passed this legislation with the economy in such a delicate state. Either the new laws will help the people of Washington and the payday loan industry will balance itself out, or the need for payday loans will exceed the law’s parameters and new legislation could be introduced. Only time will tell what will become of this new situation for the borrowers and lenders of Washington.