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Payday Lenders Cash Out of Oregon

As The Oregonian reports, payday lenders have all but disappeared from Oregon due to broad-sweeping legislation that put a cap on the interest rates they could charge. The moral crusade, led by the Oregon Legislature to get some feel-good, populist approval, enjoyed widespread support from consumer advocacy groups who claimed payday lenders were “predatory.”

Indeed, everyone’s been slapping each other on the back and declaring the “end of the predatory lending crisis,” but have they really quashed the insufferable evil of short-term, high-risk loans? No. (Surprise!)

In Oregon, officials now worry most about residents going into debt with payday lenders on the Internet, Tatman said.

Internet lenders selling to Oregonians are required by law to register with the state and abide by its regulations, but many do not.

It is difficult for the state to control Internet payday lenders who charge triple-digit interest rates, Tatman said. “If we could just get our arms around the Internet better to make sure people don’t jump out of the fire and into the frying pan.”

Who could have seen that coming? Why, It’s almost as if people seek out services to fulfill their needs! And if they can’t find a loan on the Internet, they can still seek out an illegal loan shark who will break their fingers if they’re late on payment. Huzzah!

Also, I haven’t heard a peep out of the Legislature about other “predatory” ventures such as the Oregon Lottery and its video poker machines. Is it any coincidence that payday lenders would often open up offices next to establishments that owned video poker machines? Oh, but that money goes into the state coffers, so it must be alright. I guess the moral of the story is the government won’t abide competition when it comes to swindling people.

Reason also has a write-up of the story.

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