Earlier this year, the Pew Charitable Trusts released a study that claimed that six of the eight largest banks now offer affordable small loans. In another study, Horowitz wrote: “Pew’s research suggests that in states where payday loan stores don’t exist, would-be borrowers choose other options such as asking friends, negotiating with debtors, or cutting expenses.”
Pew followed up with a report that “Credit Union Small-Dollar Loan Volume Hit New High in 2022”, but made factual and statistical errors. An editor’s note was added, stating that “This article was updated on April 7, 2023, to correct the total volume of Payday Alternative Loans issued by credit unions in 2022.”
SPPI conducted two studies of its own, “No Loan for You!” (March 2023) and “No Loan For You, Too!” (June 2023), which employed a slew of statistics and information that debunked the Pew studies. In the short interval following SPPI’s debunking efforts, Pew Charitable Truts junked their consumer finance project and quietly reassigned their policy experts.
The Heritage Foundation’s The Daily Signal reported first: “The Pew Charitable Trusts appears to have backed away from touting inexpensive small loans and attacking ‘payday loans’—often the one type of banking available to many Americans—after a conservative group released two reports undermining Pew’s central claims.”
“This is a victory for consumers across the country,” Patrick Brenner, president of the Southwest Public Policy Institute, told The Daily Signal. “The narrative being peddled by The Pew Charitable Trusts, rooted in a biased agenda, has been definitively debunked thanks to the groundbreaking work conducted by the Southwest Public Policy Institute and trade associations like the Online Lenders Alliance.”