Colorado Reined In Payday Lenders. Can The Feds Do The Same?

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Photo: Feds Propose Payday Rules
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray, center, listens to comments during a panel discussion in Richmond, Va. The bureau proposed new regulations for the payday loan industry last week.

Depending on whom you talk to, payday loans are either debt traps for the most vulnerable or much-needed lines of credit for working class families.

There isn't usually much room between those two opinions but some think that Colorado may have found a middle path. A recent study by the PEW Charitable Trusts looked at Colorado's 2010 law regulating the industry. It found that the rules had made the loans more affordable, reduced defaults and helped keep people out of long-term debt, all without shuttering loan offices completely.

So PEW suggested the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau follow Colorado's lead when it clamped down on the industry.

Federal regulators announced those rules last week. While they also aim to protect consumers, some have criticized the proposed federal approach as unnecessarily complicated when compared to the precedent in Colorado.

Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner spoke to former Mark Ferrandino, a Democrat and former speaker of the state House of Representatives, who spearheaded the effort to rein in payday lenders in Colorado. They discussed the legacy of those rules and whether the federal government can achieve the same results.