Community Groups Educate on Dangers of Payday Loans in Las Vegas
Inside Subprime: Sept 25, 2018
By Kerry Reid
Las Vegas is synonymous with high-stakes gambling. But community groups in the city are doing outreach to caution citizens about the dangers of taking out high-interest payday loans.
On Monday, September 24, nine Nevada community groups offered a forum at Las Vegas’ University United Methodist Church designed to help people understand how short-term lenders operate in the state. Additionally, the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada offers ongoing classes for consumers on understanding payday and title loans.
As reported by Katherine Davis-Young of Public News Service Nevada, the Silver State has very few restrictions on payday lending. Davis-Young quoted Robin Collins of the nonprofit Nevadans for the Common Good:
“Once someone gets a payday loan, because the way it’s serviced and the interest rate, it is hard to get out of it. As a matter of fact, the statistics show that when a person gets a loan, they might get a loan, and then they might get a loan to pay off that loan — and then it just continues, continues, continues.”
Some states have passed legislation requiring a statewide database of payday borrowers and requirements that lenders check that database to make sure that the people seeking loans aren’t already overextended. Nevada has no such law.
A requirement that lenders ascertain the ability of borrowers to repay is also part of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s “payday rule,” issued by former director Richard Cordray. The CFPB also issued the results of a study back in 2014 showing that four out of five payday loans are rolled over or renewed within 14 days.
In Nevada, the maximum amount for a payday loan is 25 percent of the borrower’s gross monthly income. The term is 35 days. There are no limits on finance charges or annual percentage rate (APR). Rollovers are allowed. There are also no limits on how many loans a borrower can have at one time, and no “cooling off” period requiring that a certain amount of time must pass before a borrower can take another loan.
Even with such lax regulation, a recent audit by the Division of Financial Institutions, the state agency charged with overseeing the industry, found that nearly a third of Nevada payday lenders received a less-than-satisfactory rating from state regulators over the last five years.
According to a report by Riley Snyder, published May 4, 2018 with the nonprofit Nevada Independent, “The most common violation over the last five years was for title loan companies — which extend a loan with the title of a legally owned car used as collateral — to extend a loan based on more than the fair market value of the vehicle. The division reported 137 violations of that type in 2017, and 843 over the last five years.”
Snyder’s report also noted that at least three bills that would have instituted some regulations failed to advance in 2017 in the state legislature. The DFI audit suggested that a tracking database would be of “significant value to the Division, its licensees, and Legislators.”
If you’re in Nevada and wondering about how to get your finances on track without resorting to high-interest payday or title loans, there are resources available. In addition to the ongoing classes offered by the Legal Aid Center, other nonprofits in the state offer training in financial literacy.
The Peciaum Education Center for Finance offers financial literacy training for adults and children.
The Financial Guidance Center offers financial counseling and coaching, including advice on debt repayment.
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling is the oldest and largest such service in the United States. It offers advice on everything from housing and mortgage counseling to student-debt counseling. They can provide references to resources close to home.
If you think that you have been victimized by a predatory lender in Nevada, you can report them to the Nevada Financial Institutions Division. You can submit a complaint by calling (702) 486-4120 or submitting a complaint form to FIDMaster@fid.state.nv.us.
The Nevada Financial Institutions Division
Address: 3300 W. Sahara Ave., Suite 250, Las Vegas, Nevada 89102
Phone: (702) 486-4120