SOURCE: Center for Responsible Lending

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February 19, 2015 14:34 ET

Poll: Strong Bipartisan Support for Reining in Abusive Payday Lenders

Voters Offer Overwhelming Backing for New Rules, Protections

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - February 19, 2015) - Voters from across the political spectrum are deeply concerned about payday lending including loans with interest rates that average 300 percent. Republicans, Democrats and Independents also feel strongly that payday and car title lenders should be required to follow the same kinds of responsible lending practices as banks and other for-profit lenders, according to a new, bipartisan national poll sponsored by the Center for Responsible Lending.

The poll comes at a time when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is considering new, national rules to govern the controversial, multi-billion dollar payday lending industry. Among those polled, regardless of political affiliation, a full 61 percent hold unfavorable views of payday lenders and support a broad range of policies to keep them from making dangerous loans.

Specifically, the poll found that 78 percent of Americans -- 80 percent of Republicans -- would support a rule that would permit payday lenders to make a loan only after verifying that the borrower can pay it back according to the original terms of the loan, while also still paying for housing, food and heat and electricity.

"It's hard to get 78 percent of Americans to agree on the color of the sky, let alone a public policy issue, so this poll should speak loudly and clearly to those formulating rules to govern this abusive industry," said Gary Kalman, executive vice president of the Center for Responsible Lending. "Americans want an end to reckless lending that drains money from communities and traps families in a cycle of debt that destroys financial futures."

The poll also found that a majority of Americans from all political parties support the work and mission of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in general.

More than 60% of likely voters support the CFPB's actions to protect military service members from law-breaking lenders and the CFPB's actions against racially discriminatory auto lenders.

Overall, the poll indicates broad consensus among likely 2016 voters of both parties on the need for financial regulations and enforcement. The survey of 800 likely voters was conducted by Lake Research Partners and Chesapeake Beach Consulting.

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