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VOL. 127 | NO. 13 | Friday, January 20, 2012

New Watchdog Agency Reviewing Payday Lending

JAY REEVES | Associated Press

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – The Obama administration's new consumer protection agency is holding its first hearing in Alabama on payday lending, an industry that brings in some $7 billion a year in fees nationwide with relatively little federal oversight.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says testimony from the session held Thursday in Birmingham will help guide future regulations. Director Richard Cordray says the bureau recognizes the need for short-term loans, but the lending needs to help consumers, not harm them.

The agency has been in the spotlight because of Republican opposition to its formation and because of President Barack Obama's use of a recess appointment to install Cordray as director.

The bureau says about 19 million American households now have payday loans. It says lenders take in more than $7 billion annually in fees.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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