Payday Lending in America: Profitability and Regulation in the Payday Lending Market

Wilcox, Orion (2014) Payday Lending in America: Profitability and Regulation in the Payday Lending Market. Undergraduate thesis, under the direction of Joshua Hendrickson from Economics, The University of Mississippi.


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Payday lending is a highly contentious form of credit. Consumer advocates often argue for strict regulation or complete banning of the industry based on the idea that payday lending rates are usurious. Providers of payday loans argue that their product offers access to credit that would not be available otherwise. In order to reconcile this debate, I analyze financial data on the largest payday lender in the country Advance America. Furthermore, I examine the 2008 Arkansas payday lending law to analyze the impact of the ban on bounced check fees, overdraft charges, and Non-Sufficient Funds charges at state chartered Arkansas banks. I show that, contrary to the conventional wisdom, margins in the payday lending market are actually quite slim with Advance America profiting only $2.10 per $100 lent during the most profitable year in the data set. Secondly, I show that following the Arkansas payday loan ban, income from service charges at banks in the state rose by an average of $390,000 per quarter. This analysis adds credence to the argument that bank fees may be substitutable for payday loans and questions whether or not payday lending bans are welfare improving.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Creators: Wilcox, Orion
Student's Degree Program(s): B.A. in Economics
Thesis Advisor: Joshua Hendrickson
Thesis Advisor's Department: Economics
Institution: The University of Mississippi
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HG Finance
Depositing User: Orion Wilcox
Date Deposited: 02 May 2014 15:51
Last Modified: 02 May 2014 15:51

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