The fireworks over a Pew Charitable Trusts report on lump-sum payday loans continued Friday as Pew challenged criticisms of its survey methodology.
The report, released Wednesday, examined the effects of lump-sum payday loans on borrowers and urged regulators to follow the example of Colorado, which passed a law in 2010 requiring payday lenders to give borrowers at least six months to repay loans in installments.
Payday lending company Advance America argued in a mass email to reporters Wednesday that the report "did not research the impact of payday lending regulation in other states for comparison" and "did not closely examine outcomes for borrowers in Colorado or other states."
Pew defended the report's methodology Friday, highlighting a number of sections that it said disproved Advance America's criticisms. A map comparing the portion of borrowers' biweekly gross income that an average payday loan consumes drew on data from 36 states. A table listing the typical annual percentage rate on installment loans from payday lenders compared data from eight different states. A total of 703 payday loan borrowers completed a nationwide survey about their usage and views on lending practices.
The organization also defended the depth of its research on Colorado borrowers. To evaluate the impact of the 2010 Colorado law on borrowers' access to credit, researchers drew on data from the Colorado Office of the Attorney General. Pew said it also interviewed 33 state senators, payday lenders, lobbyists and others involved with the Colorado law and conducted four focus groups with borrowers in Colorado Springs and Denver.
Advance America's senior vice president of public affairs, Jamie Fulmer, stood by the company's earlier critiques of the report's methodology. "It's pretty clear that just glossing over various states is not reflective of the in-depth analysis we think constructive dialogue warrants," he said.
Fulmer also said that the report "did not offer a deep enough analysis of how [the Colorado law] affects consumers" in the state.
A Pew spokeswoman declined to respond to Fulmer's criticisms.