The University of West Florida Haas Center for Business Research & Economic Development recently completed research that shows that Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Bay counties produce fewer payday loans per person than the state does as a whole. The new study contradicts earlier reports from other organizations that suggested the Pensacola area alone accounts for roughly 40 percent of the state’s payday loan transactions.
“The numbers that came out this summer just looked wrong for Pensacola, and in fact they were,” said UWF economist Rick Harper. “This new look at the data gives us a correct picture of where Florida’s payday lending hot spots actually are.”
Some key Haas Center findings:
Escambia County accounted for 1.2 percent of the state’s payday loan transactions in 2014.
Payday lenders in Escambia County generated 1.84 loans per person between July 2009 and Sept. 18, 2014, based on a 2010 population of 297,619. That’s 12 percent below the state average of 1.87 loans per person.
In Okaloosa County, payday lenders generated 1.83 loans per person from July 2009 through September 2014.
Bay County lenders generated 1.72 loans per person during the period measured.
Osceola and Hillsborough counties led the state at 4.71 and 4.68 loans per person, respectively.
The Haas Center has published an article with its findings on the organization’s website at http://haas.uwf.edu/Home/Article1.