DENVER—Colorado Attorney General John Suthers today issued three composite reports on Colorado’s calendar year 2011 subprime consumer lending activity (loans with an APR greater than 12% or that could exceed 12% on an adjustable rate loan). The reports cover all supervised lenders licensed by the Colorado Attorney General’s Office. They contain data on 265 companies at 851 licensed locations making deferred deposit or “payday” loans, small-installment loans, and traditional supervised loans. Licensed lenders are required by law to file these reports annually, which are then compiled in aggregate form.

The reports show that the dollar amount of small-installment and traditional supervised loans increased in 2011. For the same period, the dollar amount of payday loans decreased almost 60%. In addition to supervised loans, licensed lenders reported other credit activity. As of December 31, 2011 licensees continued to collect and service approximately $3 billion in outstanding consumer credit transactions including consumer loans, credit sales, and leases.

Payday Loans

Payday loans are limited by an August 2010 amendment to Colorado’s payday lending law to a maximum loan amount of $500 with a minimum loan term of six months. The allowable fees for payday loans include an origination fee, 45% interest, and monthly maintenance fees. The law requires lenders to refund a portion of the fees upon prepayment in full prior to maturity. The 2011 composite report contains the first full calendar year of data reported under the amended law.

The number of licensed payday lenders fell by over 14% from 410 in calendar year 2010 to 352 in calendar year 2011. In addition, the number of Colorado payday loan consumers decreased over 17% from 300,069 in 2010 to 247,441 in 2011. (The number of consumers may be overstated due to consumers obtaining loans from multiple lenders and duplicate reporting by servicers.)

Prior to August 2010, payday loans had a maximum loan term of 40 days. As of August 11, 2010, payday loans have a minimum loan term of six months. As a result, the number of payday loans have fallen almost 60% from 1,110,224 loans in 2010 to 444,333 in 2011. The dollar amount of these loans also fell from $409 million in 2010 to $167 million in 2011. 

The following chart compares some of the key differences between payday loans before and after the amended law went into effect:



Pre-Aug. 11, 2010

Calendar Year 2011

Average contracted amount



Average contracted finance charge



Average contracted loan term

18 days

188 days

Average contracted APR

326.34 percent

191.46 percent


In addition, today, the Attorney General’s Office released its own data, obtained from compliance examinations its staff conducts of payday lenders. This report, containing demographic and payday loan data from July 2000 through December 2011, provides the following information:


  • The average consumer is 37, female, and single
  • The average consumer has worked at their current job for 3.6 years
  • The average consumer’s gross monthly income is $2,477
  • Approximately 35% are laborers, 16.5% receive government benefits, and 15% are office workers
  • The average consumer had 2.3 payday loans from the same lender during the prior 12 months.


The loan data from compliance examinations was consistent with that reported from licensed payday lenders in their annual reports concerning average loan amount, finance charge, loan term, and APR. However, the data indicates that:

  • Approximately 77% of payday loans are prepaid in full prior to maturity
  • For prepaid loans, prepayment in full is, on average, at 101 days.


  • As of December 31, 2011, payday lenders had 330 licensed locations
  • The 10 largest companies accounted for 78% of all licensed locations (258 of 330)
  • The other 72 licensed locations were held by 48 different companies.

Small-Installment Loans

Small-installment loans are limited by law to a maximum loan amount of $1,000 or less, with a loan term of 90 days to 12 months.

Five companies with 10 licensed locations reported small-installment loan activity during 2011.  The number and dollar amount of small installment loans made in 2011 increased over 180% from 2010. The number of Colorado consumers with small-installment loans also increased by over 95% from 1,632 in 2010 to 3,183 in 2011. (This number may be overstated due to duplicate reporting by servicers and multiple lenders.)

In 2011, the average small-installment loan amount was $380.42, with total finance charges of $79.73, and a contracted loan term of 3.4 months. On average, these loans contained an annual percentage rate of 47% to 159%, depending on loan amount and loan term.

Traditional Supervised Loans

The supervised lender report contains data on sub-prime loans made by finance companies, insurance premium finance companies and mortgage lenders that primarily make junior-lien loans. Supervised loans also include auto and student loans and those for household goods.

Highlights of the 2011 supervised-loan data include:

  • The number of licensed locations remained steady from 488 in 2010 to 489 
  • Supervised lenders made 40,696 loans totaling almost $246 million 
  • The average loan amount increased from $5,563 in 2010 to $6,037 
  • As of December 31, 2011, licensed lenders continued to service and collect on over $1.28 billion in consumer loans, $1.59 billion in consumer credit sales, and $73.98 million in consumer leases.

The Attorney General’s Office enforces the Uniform Consumer Credit Code, regulates supervised lenders and retailers selling goods and services on credit and investigates consumer complaints, The annual reports do not include data from lenders that make prime-rate loans; financial institutions such as banks, credit unions, and savings and loan associations; creditors that make indirect loans; and mortgage companies that make first mortgage residential and refinance loans that are exempt from Uniform Consumer Credit Code licensing.  The Office also enforces state laws on credit repair, debt management services and refund anticipation loan facilitators.

The 2011 reports, those from prior years, and comparison charts are available at under “Annual Report Composites.” Consumers may file complaints about lending practices at, by sending an e-mail to, or by calling 303-866-4494.

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