Newswise — Newly announced restrictions on payday lending unveiled Thursday by the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) are expected to help crack down on an industry that profits from high-interest loans given to low-income Americans from vulnerable populations.

The new rules will change the way payday loans are administered and may lessen the number of vulnerable loan applicants who fall prey to high-interest rates from payday lenders that keep them trapped in a cycle of debt.

University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law Professor Christopher L. Peterson is available for media interviews to discuss the policy changes. While the rules are a positive step forward, Peterson believes more must be done to protect consumers.

The new rules don’t prevent payday lenders from restructuring their products into what some payday lenders call “long duration installment loans” —a product available to consumers that operate much like payday loans under the different name.

“While it’s a positive step for America, it’s an incomplete step,” said Peterson. “(The rules as currently written)  leave millions of Americans still at-risk to be exposed to triple digit interest loans with little or no evaluation of their ability to pay.”

Peterson has extensively researched the CFPB and predatory lending issues. In 2016, he published an article in the Tulane Law Review. That article, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Law Enforcement: An Empirical Review, draws upon pleadings, consent orders, settlement agreements, press releases and other public documents, to study every public enforcement action announced by the bureau through 2015 based on over 70 variables. Peterson examined whether the CFPB’s law enforcement program is making strides to protect Americans from the financial, mental health and physical harms associated with illegal consumer financial practices.

A recognized authority on consumer finance, Peterson has frequently testified in Congressional hearings and has presented his research to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Federal Reserve Board of Governors, and at the White House in both Democratic and Republican administrations.

Peterson’s books include the Thompson/West casebook Consumer Law: Cases and Materials and Taming the Sharks: Towards a Cure for the High Cost Credit Market which won the American College of Consumer Financial Services Lawyers’ outstanding book of the year prize.  He is a consumer fellow of the American Bar Association’s Consumer Financial Services Committee. He is a recipient of the National Association of Consumer Agency Administrators’ Consumer Advocate of the Year award and the Department of Defense’s Office of the Secretary of Defense Award for Excellence–both bestowed in recognition of his role in promoting an Act of Congress and subsequent implementing regulations that protect military service members from predatory lending practices.

Peterson is currently the John J. Flynn Endowed Professor of Law at the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law where he teaches contracts, commercial law, and consumer protection courses. From 2012 to 2016, he served as a special advisor in the Office of the Director at the United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, in the Office of Legal Policy for Personnel and Readiness in the United States Department of Defense, and as Senior Counsel for Enforcement Policy and Strategy in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of Enforcement.

To arrange an interview, contact Peterson at [email protected] or call (801)581-6655.