Alternative Financial Services (October 2015 update)

City Council’s Economic Opportunity committee will be discussing the Credit Access Business Ordinance at their October 12 meeting.

The City of Austin regulates the location of “alternative financial services” – payday loans, title loans, check cashing, and money transfers. The ordinance doesn’t apply to businesses who cash checks or wire money as a small part of their overall business, like many grocery or convenience stores.

As a result of the 2011 ordinance regulating locations, several new credit access businesses opened in the North Lamar/Rundberg area, in some cases buying out the existing business in order to secure one of the permitted sites.

An [alternative financial services] use may not be located on a site that is:

  1. within 1,000 feet of a site that contains another alternative financial services business use;
  2. within 200 feet of a property in a base, combining or overlay district in which a residential use is allowed or in which a residential use is located;
  3. within 500 feet of the rights-of-way of Interstate Highway 35, U.S. Highway 183, U.S. Highway 290, Texas State Highway Loop 360, Texas State Highway Loop 1, Texas State Highway 130, or Texas State Highway 45; or
  4. within the waterfront overlay district, the university neighborhood overlay district, or the area bounded by Interstate Highway 35, Airport Boulevard, and Town Lake

An [alternative financial services] use may be located only within a freestanding structure and may not be co-located in the same structure with other uses.

The City can only regulate lending practices within state and federal law, but City code does require the businesses to register, and has some limits on interest rates and how many times the loan can be rolled over.

– Texas League of Women Voters 2015 issue study on Payday and Title Loans
– Texas Appleseed 2012 research and recommendations on Payday & Auto Title Lending Reform

Neighborhood plan goal: Create a well-balanced land use pattern by assigning appropriate land uses to particular properties.
Objective L.3: Establish North Lamar Boulevard as a mixed use, pedestrian-friendly corridor.
Recommendation 123: Apply the mixed use future land use designation to all properties fronting North Lamar Boulevard.
Recommendation 125: Incorporate small-scale, neighborhood-serving commercial or retail establishments into new mixed use developments.

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About nlct

The North Lamar/Georgian Acres neighborhood is a diverse and connected mixed-use area bounded by 183, North Lamar, Braker, and I-35. The "North Lamar/Georgian Acres contact team" (NLCT) works to achieve our vision of a safe healthy neighborhood for residents, property owners, and businesses.
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One Response to Alternative Financial Services (October 2015 update)

  1. Monica says:

    Everyone should educate themselves about predatory lending (payday, title, quick loans/quick cash, etc) and support and/or participate in action to combat negative influence on many of our residents.

    Texas Impact (http://texasinterfaithcenter.org/content/payday-lending ) has already done extensive research and action on this issue.

    United Methodist Women of the Rio Texas Conference have also organized around and lobbied the Lege against payday lenders.

    Even the Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission has organized and lobbied the Lege against payday lenders. http://s3.amazonaws.com/texasbaptists/clc/84-Legislative-Session-End-Report.pdf

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