Payday Lenders and Pawn Shops Booming

October 19, 2011
(Volokh) From today’s WSJ, “Short-Term Lenders Seize the Day”:Tough times are good times for payday lenders and pawnshops.*** Shares of nationwide chains, such asDFC Global Corp.,Cash America International Inc. and First Cash Financial Services Inc., have jumped to records in recent weeks. Meanwhile, plans for two initial public offerings from the industry, including the online business of Cash America, have been filed since August. Cash America representatives declined to comment. DFC Global and First Cash representatives didn’t return calls seeking comment. Though share prices have come off their highs in recent weeks, they are still up for the year. Cash America is up 49%, First Cash Financial 40% and DFC Global 18%. That compares with the KBW Bank Index, which is down 26% so far in 2011.First Cash Financial is set to report third-quarter earnings Wednesday, with other payday lenders and pawn shops also reporting this week and next. Analysts covering DFC, Cash America and First Cash indicate they expect earnings at all of the companies to increase by double-digit percentages in the third quarter, though it is possible earnings could disappoint. All three beat expectations in the second quarter.Wow, who ever could have predicted that?