For more than two decades, America's bank deserts have been afflicted by convenient access to payday loans. As alluring as giant bottles of soda pop, this consumer-friendly form of credit may look refreshing, its critics contend, but it leaves a bitter aftertaste of misery and exploitation. Sometimes these critics have a point. Yet despite instances of egregious tactics–and despite persistent calls for stricter regulation of the industry–consumer demand for short-term, high-interest, uncollateralized credit remains strong. Entrepreneurial reform is happening across all sectors of the financial services industry, and, as Greg Beato writes in the December issue of Reason, a wave of consumer-oriented lending institutions is starting to hit critical mass.
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