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Texas Payday Lending Study Shows Industry Raised Fees In 2013

Flickr user Rambergmediaimages

The Center for Public Policy Priorities, a left-leaning political think tank, released a study showing that in 2013 the industry raised it’s fees by 12 percent, collecting over $1.3 million from Texans.

Don Baylor, a senior policy Analyst with the center, said that Texans between 2012 and 2013 paid more in fees for loans using a paycheck or car title as collateral.

“So we saw these loans become more frequent and we also saw them become much longer in terms, which means Texans are paying a lot more for these products,” Baylor said.

Baylor said in 2012 one in seven payday loans was an extended payment plan with 400 percent interest rate; in 2013 that jumped to one in four loans being installment loans. This type of loan is generally used by Texans on the lower end of the economic scale.

"They are very common out there on the street," Baylor said. "There’s about 3,500 store fronts in Texas, so this is more than Starbucks, Whataburger and McDonalds combined."

Baylor said that growth of the industry in Texas has a lot to do with political will.

"Or lack of political will is probably the best answer for the inability of the Legislature, really over the past two or three sessions, to really at least put some rules of the road for this industry,” Baylor said.

Since then, Houston, Austin, Dallas, El Paso and San Antonio have passed city ordinances to limit the rates on these loans. This is also a hotly-contested talking point in 2014 gubernatorial race between Democrat Wendy Davis and Republican Greg Abbott.