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Rules and Regulations Facing AFSPs Payday lending, pawn broking and check cashing arenít overnight sensations. They date back to at least the 1930s, although payday lending may date back to Colonial America and pawn broking in its various forms is particularly ancient. As with any explosive growth industry, there has been a need for regulation. AFSPs are subject to regulations on the federal, state and local level. Such things as theGramm-Leach-Bliley Act, the USA PATRIOT Act, and the Bank Secrecy Act all have jurisdiction. Moreover, all loan companies must follow the federal rules of the Truth in Lending Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and the Talent-Nelson Amendment to the 2007 Defense Authorization Bill, to name a few. On the state and local level, numerous and variable other regulations exist. Itís safe to say that a regulatory maze exists when it comes to AFSPs. While they do serve to protect consumers against potential exploitation, the question as to whether over-regulation has stifled competition with the consumer financial services industry is a more than legitimate area for study. Urban vs. Rural Distribution Prager found that in 2006, 98.9 percent of rural and 99.6 percent of urban counties in the U.S. featured at least one bank or thrift branch. Furthermore, two-thirds of rural and 90 percent of urban counties had at least one AFSP provider (payday lender, pawnshop, check casher, etc). Considering population by county, the average of 33,000 people were serviced by 2.5 online cash advance stores, 1.2 pawn shops, 1.7 check-cashing outlets and 10.7 bank and thrift branches. On the urban side, the numbers change to 220,000 people, 16.6 online cash advance stores, 7.4 pawnshops, 21.2 check cashers and 67.5 bank and thrift branches. AFSPs like online cash advance companies are certainly not more prevalent than banks in Pragerís sample. Where Do the Payday Lenders Congregate? Prager found that the highest concentration of online cash advances outlets on a per capita basis came in southern states where regulation is more forgiving: Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana. Pawn shops concentration was also high in such areas (primarily Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee), although check cashing ranked highest in California, Delaware, Mississippi and North Carolina. Banks and thrifts found their highest concentration in the north central states, including Kansas, Nebraska and North Dakota. This did not tend to correlate into having a negative effect on the number of pawn shops and check cashing outlets in a county, but Prager did find a positive correlation when it came to online cash advance stores. Credit Scores Point to Subprime Here is where we get to the heart of the matter with AFSPs like online cash advance stores. They tend to appear where the need is greatest. If consumers have difficulty security mainstream credit in an emergency, then online cash advances become a very attractive option. Prager introduces an equation that factors credit availability and a variety of other factors in order to express the number of AFSP outlets as a function. It is a function of the following demographic data: racial/ethnic mixture, age, consumer education, poverty standing and the countyís population density. As stated, creditworthiness and area regulations are also factors. Here are some of Pragerís comments on results: Get your online cash advance now
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