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Short term lending still alive

Jan 31, 2011 Todd Milner

Although congressional scrutiny is rising, short term lenders are still fighting for the survival of their industry. For several reasons, the industry's plight may not be as dire as it seems, reports Nasdaq. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, while out to thwart short term lending businesses, does not have the power to cap interest rates industry-wide, but by calling for more transparency, it could bring a lot of pressure down on lenders. However, "those who need loans will still consider the option (of short term loans) and they may well take advantage of it," says Nasdaq. Enlightened borrowers may "balk if they learn that the $15 they pay in interest on a two-week $100 loan equates to a nearly 400 percent APR," says the site. "But it's also just $15, and more attractive than many banks' overdraft fees and other charges. That's not likely to kill off the entire short term lending industry." Still, there is possible trouble on the horizon. Overall short term loan volume, not including online lenders, fell $5 billion to $30 billion in 2009 and 1,700 shops have closed, says Nasdaq. According to Consumers Union, some advocates are concerned that the industry is virtually unregulated.