Yesterday, Director Cordray kicked off our field hearing on payday lending in Birmingham, Ala., by explaining why he was there and what the Bureau wants to learn from consumers about payday loans.

I want to be clear about one thing: We recognize the need for emergency credit. At the same time, it is important that these products actually help consumers, rather than harm them.

A lack of supervision at the federal level means there is a lot we do not know about some of the inherent risks associated with payday products. Through forums like this and through our supervision program, we will systematically gather data to get a complete picture of the payday market and its impact on consumers. This assessment will allow us to better choose among the tools we have available at the Consumer Bureau to balance the needs of consumers with the risks they face.

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