Title loan changes on the way

Getting quick cash could get a little tougher under new rules announced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The agency says it is looking to protect consumers from taking out high interest APR pay day and title loans that they can't afford to pay back.

Pay day loans have been illegal in Arizona since 2010, but auto title loans are prevalent throughout the state.

Among the new rules:

  • Lenders will have to check that borrowers have the ability to repay certain types of loans, including those that have balloon payments. That could mean a credit check and verifying major monthly expenses.
  • Borrowers will be limited to three loans in succession, after which the lender must wait 30 days to issue a new loan.
  • Lenders are only allowed two attempts to withdraw from a checking account if there are insufficient funds, to prevent excessive bank fees.

Consumer advocate Sam Richard with Arizonans for Responsible Lending says the rules level the playing field.

"We're looking at lenders that often are able to play by different rules than institutional banks and credit unions, so this really just ensures the protection and safeties that are offered when anyone else would walk into a bank and ask for a loan," he says.

Richard also says the rules set by the CFPB are "a floor," and is pushing for additional regulations at the state level.

"One of the options that we would like to see in this next legislative session here in Arizona is a response to this let's tighten our usury cap, our usury loan levels. Let's make sure that additional protections are given to consumers," he says.

A spokesman with the Arizona Title Loan Association tells ABC15 that its members already check for ability to repay, and that the rules are unnecessary.

Changes takes effect in 2019 unless Congress rolls them back.

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