Study of Veteran Payday Lending Challenges

The Veterans Policy Leadership Institute and the School of Environmental and Public Affairs at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, created a survey to assess the financial stability of Nevada veterans. The survey was funded by a grant from Schwab Bank. Survey goals were to research the major barriers veterans face as they work to build assets; access stable and high quality financial products and services; and assess veteran use of financial products and services. Objectives for this survey project were to identify patterns of financial literacy, management, and preparedness within the Nevada veteran community. A major focal area of the survey was centered on the use of pay day lending and cash advance services by Nevada veterans. As part of the analysis five variables were selected as possible impact variables on pay day lending usage, including; questions about veteran transitional programs and individual financial confidence and preparedness.

Original survey design sought to survey Nevada veterans by utilizing the Green Zone Network with communications to be posted both online and sent to veterans via email. During survey development, discussions took place with Veteran Program Directors at the various colleges and universities in the State of Nevada to deploy the survey to student veterans as an initial pilot of the Nevada Veterans Survey. Student respondents represented a significantly larger portion of the sample population than anticipated, however; results clearly indicate the existence of a problem with pay day lenders and veterans in Nevada. Analytic methods, using descripting statistics and cross-tabulation, focused on determining possible relationships between pay day lending variables and veteran specific and other demographic variables.

Results and analysis of the Nevada Veterans Survey indicate Nevada veterans are seeking pay day lenders and/or cash advance services for their lending needs. Many of these veterans have previous interactions with these lending services either during active duty or as veterans with a substantial number of veterans with current outstanding debts to pay day lenders. Other concerning issues identified include; advertising practices, storefront location and residential zoning, as well as individual assessment of financial confidence and preparedness. Future research is recommended to further explore veteran financial management and literacy statewide and should include data related to zip code of residence, mapping pay day lending locations by zip code, and inclusion of title loan services.