Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour has signed into law a bill that amends the allowable fees that may be charged by payday lenders. The measure, House Bill 455, also affords the state's payday lenders a three year extension so they may continue to conduct business in Mississippi. HB 455 takes effect January 1, 2012.

The law allowing payday lenders to operate in the state would have sunset in 2012 without passage of the legislation. Payday loan critics had lobbied lawmakers to let the law sunset and essentially kill the Mississippi payday loan industry.

Payday industry supporters argued not only does the industry provide some 3,000 job to state residents, but it provides an important, viable option to consumers in need of quick cash to resolve their pressing financial needs.

Sen. Walter Michel (R-Jackson), who serves on the Mississippi Senate Business and Financial Institutions Committee, said, "...it was the will of the Legislature that the consumers get reduced fees. The bill that was passed will enable about 3,000 jobs to remain intact."

HB 455 mandates that consumers must be provided up to 30 days to repay loans. The law caps fees at $20 for loans of between $100 and $250. For $251 to $500 loans, the fee will be $21.95 per $100. HB 455 also mandates a state hotline for consumers to lodge complaints with the state banking commission or the attorney general's office.

It is estimated the new law may reduce payday lender revenue by around 10 percent, and it could force some smaller payday lenders out of business.