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Landscapes of Predation, Landscapes of Neglect: A Location Analysis of Payday Lenders and Banks

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Abstract

Since the period of bank deregulation in the 1980s, deferred deposit loan operations, better known as payday lenders, have become commonplace in the landscapes of many American cities. At the same time, traditional banking facilities have become less common, especially in the inner city. Growing disparities in the type of and accessibility to credit in the inner city has generated calls for greater regulation to curb practices by payday lenders that critics claim disproportionately affect poor and minority consumers. Payday lenders argue that they serve communities neglected by traditional banks. This article analyzes the site-location strategies of banks and payday lenders in metropolitan Louisiana, and in Cook County, Illinois, and finds that disenfranchised neighborhoods are simultaneously targeted by payday lenders and neglected by traditional banks. The implications these findings have for public policy and for ongoing discourses on the urban condition, race, and class are briefly discussed.

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