Profits from tax refund anticipation loans, a controversial and once-lucrative product for underbanked consumers, are drying up.

Consumers have been less willing to pay extra for faster refunds in the recession. Long-running advocacy campaigns against the loans have increased the legal and reputational risks of offering them. Proposed regulatory reforms in Washington would tighten scrutiny of the loans. And the Internal Revenue Service is updating its computer systems to process refunds more quickly.

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