Payday Loans in Wyoming: Subprime Report
Wyoming is the United State’s least populous state. Home to Yellowstone, the first national park, and a plethora of beautiful outdoor activities, it is known as the “Equality State” for being the first to allow women the right to vote.
In recent years, the state’s primary industries of tourism, coal, and gas have faced a significant downturn. Wyoming has an 11.3% poverty rate – the 14th lowest poverty rate in the United States – but without a major metropolitan area to attract new companies, the state is still struggling to diversify its economy and grow its workforce. Because of this, Wyoming residents who find themselves short on funds to pay bills may be tempted to turn to costly payday or title loans in order to make ends meet.
Payday Loans in Wyoming
Payday loans are short-term, high-interest loans, which typically average around $500. They must be repaid in full by the borrower’s next payday, and in order to fulfill this requirement, the borrower provides the lender with a post-dated check for the loan amount plus a financing fee, which is automatically cashed at the end of the loan term.
The payday lending industry is mainly regulated by states, and in Wyoming, payday loans are legal. Regulated under the Uniform Consumer Credit Code (Wy. Stat. 40-14-362 et seq.) and referred to as “post-dated check loans,” the state of Wyoming requires lenders to verify that consumers can reasonably pay back the loan in the required loan term, and caps financing fees at 20% or $30, whichever is less. Post-dated check loan vendors are required to be licensed with the Wyoming Division of Banking, and must pay various registration fees and agree to the state’s guidelines before distributing any loans to consumers.
There is no maximum loan amount for payday loans in Wyoming, but loans must be repaid within 30 days, and the annual percentage rate on a 14-day $100 loan would be 780%. Payday loans may be easy to obtain, but they can have long-lasting negative impacts on your finances if you are unable to repay them within the designated loan term.
Number of Payday Lenders: 87
APR on a 14-Day, $100 Loan: 780%
Number of Payday Lenders: 126
APR on a 14-Day, $100 Loan: 36%
The History of Payday Loans in Wyoming
Wyoming utilizes the national Uniform Consumer Credit Code (UCCC) to dictate financial laws related to consumer lending in the United States. The UCCC sets regulations on “usury” caps (interest rate caps) and protects consumers from other unfair practices such as using state systems to collect on a borrower’s assets or through wage garnishments. The UCCC was initially introduced in 1968, revised in 1974, and had the goal of making consumer lending regulations more uniform across all 50 states, but only nine states (including Wyoming) have adopted it. The most recent revisions to payday lending laws in Wyoming, where payday loans are known as “post-dated check cashers,” were outlined in 2014, defining what characterized a post-dated check cashing loan, setting rate caps and more.
The federal level Dodd-Frank Act enacted in 2010 does not specifically define payday loans, and the rules outlined by the Dodd-Frank Act and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recognized that State, Local, and Tribal authorities may overlap or add on to the federal-level rules and regulations set forth by the act and the bureau.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the federal agency tasked with protecting consumers from financial exploitation, rolled out proposed federal-level regulations for payday lending in 2016. Proposed rules included lenders needing reasonable evidence that the borrower has the ability to repay the loan, restricting the number of rollovers or renewals on payday loans, and requiring lenders to notify borrowers when they withdraw funds from the borrower’s bank account. The CFPB finalized regulation in late 2017 that would require lenders to evaluate whether or not a person can afford to repay their loan, but implementation and enforcement of that regulation is stalled due to partisan politics regarding the role of the CFPB moving forward. It is unclear whether enforcement of this regulation will be strong enough to make a significant difference nationwide.
Wyoming Payday Loan Rules and Regulations
Overall, Wyoming has more lax regulations for payday lending than its neighbor states South Dakota and Montana. The typical finance rates are on the higher end of national averages, and there does not appear to be much consumer advocacy on further reforming these damaging loan options.
Wyomingites lose approximately $9 million annually because of payday loan fees. Most payday lenders also include “forced arbitration” clauses in their loan agreements, which means borrowers who have been wronged by predatory lending practices do not have a right to pursue damages in public courts should they have a dispute with their lenders. With little to no regulation on payday loans and typical interest rates reaching as high as 780% on a mere $100 loan, it’s easy to see how taking out a payday loan could trap you in a cycle of debt, leaving you and your family in a worse financial state than you were when you took out the loan.
- Maximum Loan Amount:Not specified
- Loan Term:1 month
- Rollovers Permitted?:No
- Fees and Finance Charges:20% per month or $30, whichever is more
- Finance Charge on a 14-Day, $100 Loan:$30
- APR on a 14-Day, $100 Loan:780%
- Maximum Number of Outstanding Loans at a Time:Not Specified
- Repayment Plan:Yes, once per 12-month period, at least 4 equal installments, at least 60 days
- Cooling-Off Period:Not specified
- Collection Fees:No insufficient funds fees or other costs
Title Loans in Wyoming
If you do some Googling, you may come across auto title loans offered by online lenders in Wyoming, but make no mistake: auto title loans are not permitted in the state of Wyoming. Auto title loans require you to use your vehicle as collateral for a loan, and in states that allow them, title loan borrowers’ cars must be completely paid off and in good working condition. Borrowers give the lender the title to their vehicle, and if they are unable to repay the loan, their car may be repossessed, leaving them without transportation to work. Title loans can be even more detrimental to borrowers’ finances than payday loans.
Regulating Payday and Title Loans in Wyoming
Quite simply, predatory lenders are those who impose unfair or abusive loan terms on consumers who have limited financial knowledge and believe they have few options to meet their financial needs. These lenders have little to no regard for whether or not their customers can actually afford the loans they are giving out, which is why potential borrowers must do their research and build a budget before signing anything. Otherwise, it’s easy for unscrupulous lenders to profit off of your financial uncertainty.
How to Report a Predatory Lender in Wyoming
If you feel you have been the victim of predatory lending, there are many ways to fight back against unsavory financial organizations. In Wyoming, the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit can take consumer complaints online: http://ag.wyo.gov/cpu/consumer-complaints
The Wyoming Division of Banking is responsible for licensing and regulating lenders in the state, and utilizes the the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System to make sure the public has access to check if a lender is licensed to operate in Wyoming.
- Address: Herschler Building, 3rd Floor, 122 West 25th Street, Cheyenne, WY 82002
- Phone: (307) 777-7797
- Fax: (307) 777-3555
- Website: http://wyomingbankingdivision.wyo.gov/
The Wyoming Attorney General’s Office website also lists numerous consumer education resources for protecting yourself against a variety of financial scams and predatory practices.
- Address: 2320 Capitol Avenue, Cheyenne, WY 82002
- Phone: 307-777-7841
- Online Contact Form: http://ag.wyo.gov/cpu/consumer-complaints
Consumer Protection Division
- Address: 2320 Capitol AvenueCheyenne, WY 82002
- Phone: (307) 777-8962
- Fax: (307) 777-3435
Consumer Protection in Wyoming
Most of the recent consumer protection cases in Wyoming involve pharmaceutical companies, vehicle manufacturers, and predatory asphalt and construction scammers going door-to-door preying on innocent Wyomingites. Wyoming’s Office of Consumer Advocate is centered on energy issues, making sure that utility companies in the state do not cause harm to Wyomingites.
Payday and Title Lending in Wyoming Cities
Predatory lending in Wyoming is a big issue for residents. And it gets even more complicated at the city level. Check out these payday and title loan guides to the following cities in Wyoming:
Cheyenne | Casper | Riverton