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Payday Lenders Are the Only Ones Who Can’t Make Money on 36 Percent Interest

Pallavi Gogoi at Daily Finance, who watched payday lender regulations die in the Senate, asked payday lenders how they liked the rules under which they are forced to operate for military personnel. Under those rules, members of the military cannot be charged more than 36 percent interest on any loan. She heard the most remarkable thing in response.

“We can’t make a profit on 36% loans,” says Steven Schlein, a spokesman for the payday lending trade group, the Community Financial Services Association.

Leaving aside the somewhat hilarious moniker for a club of payday lenders and check cashers, the group insists that companies can’t make money charging people a 36 percent interest rate plus fees. With savings and most money market accounts paying less than 1 percent interest, stock market returns iffy and credit card companies making billions a year charging about 20 percent interest to its customers, either payday lenders are exceedingly stupid business people or their trade group thinks Americans are.

At least in terms of Congress, they’re right: Further payday lending regulation seems to be off the table after the group’s successful lobbying campaign against it.

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