Advocates Gear Up to Fight for New Protections from Nevada Payday Loans in 2019

Inside Subprime: Oct 29, 2018

By Nikolas Wright

If consumer advocates in Nevada and Las Vegas play their cards rights, the state legislature could pass stronger protections on payday loans when it meets next February.

According to a report by The Nevada Independent, which covers state policy, advocates are preparing to renew their efforts after a proposed payday loan tracking database died on the last day of the 2017 legislative session.

Nevadans pay the fifth highest APRs at 652% (of the 25 states that allow high interest loans without a rate cap), a fact that has inspired advocates to double down on new regulations. According to the Center for Responsible Lending, Nevada is one of more than 25 states with “no meaningful regulation of payday lending.”

Advocates are looking to unite a broader alliance to support consumer protections. The state last made major changes to consumer protection laws on high-interest loans more than 10 years ago.

Advocate groups are mainly comprised of general welfare groups, like the Legal Aid of Southern Nevada, progressive organizations, and the faith-based coalition Nevadans for the Common Good. However, the Nevada Independent reported that such groups aren’t supporting a specific piece of legislation or concept. Rather, they’re focused more on generating awareness of >predatory lending practices associated with payday loans in Nevada ahead of 2019.

The payday lending industry says it’s unfairly vilified and provides quick access to credit that regular banks and lenders don’t.

A state performance audit released earlier this year found that nearly a third of payday lenders in Nevada received a less-than-satisfactory rating from state regulators within the last five years. Many of these payday lenders break the law every year. In the last two years, the Nevada Division of Financial Institutions has seen an uptick in enforcement action while overseeing high-interest lenders, according to George Burns, head of the division.

In addition to the proposed tracking database, Nevada lawmakers made other attempts to defang payday lenders in 2017. One bill would have kept lenders from making more than one loan at the same time to the same person, required a “cooling-off” period between loans. The database would’ve tracked that. The bill didn’t make it.

However, in June 2017, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signed a bill that prohibits payday lenders from making loans without first ensuring the borrower can actually repay them.

For information on predatory payday loans in the Silver State, read our Subprime Report on Nevada including.