TN Regulators Back Off Payday Lenders With Good Track Records

According to the Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions, the state has 864 title loan shops, 670 check cashers and 1,218 payday lenders. Credit: taberandrew via Flickr

According to the Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions, the state has 864 title loan shops, 670 check cashers and 1,218 payday lenders. Credit: taberandrew via Flickr

Payday lenders who haven’t been giving the state any trouble will now go longer between visits from examiners. State regulators are trying to find a more efficient* way to conduct annual reviews as alternative lending grows.

Tennessee now has 5,000 non-bank financial institutions, ranging from check cashers to title loan companies. The state department overseeing traditional banks is also charged with dropping in on every location once a year.

Commissioner Greg Gonzales says backing off on those without previous violations should give more time to focus on bad actors.

“We are still going to be in on every shop. No one gets away without an exam at some point.”

Next year, Gonzales says his office will begin taking the same approach with mortgage lenders.

While alternative lenders tend to get a lot of negative attention for creating cycles of debt for the poor, Tennessee regulators get many more complaints about traditional banks.

*A prior version of this post incorrectly suggested there was a “backlog” of reviews.

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