Payday lending by any other name

We might as well just stop passing laws:

If they weren't a bank, they wouldn't be able to offer this product in North Carolina," said Chris Kukla, senior vice president with the Center for Responsible Lending, which leads a coalition of groups opposed to what they describe as abusive loan practices. The effective interest rates for Ready Advance loans could be as high as 365 percent annual percentage rate, Kukla said.

This story also highlights an issue that gets under my skin very deeply:

"We only have secondary information on the product but it appears to be a form of short-term credit much like (payday loan)," said Ray Grace, Acting Commissioner of Banks.

Grace's agency can't directly regulate Regions Bank because it operates under Alabama state banking laws and is regulated for interstate purposes by the Federal Reserve. Officials with the Federal Reserve were unavailable Friday to answer questions about how they might deal with banks that are offering products that might otherwise run afoul of state banking laws.

I don't want to get into a drawn-out discussion about the evils of the Fed, but the NC Banking Commissioner should have equal powers over all banks' operations in this state, regardless of where their chosen headquarters is located.

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