The nation's new consumer protection agency is holding its first field hearing in Alabama.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will be in Birmingham Thursday afternoon for a session on payday lending practices.
The state has one of the nation's highest numbers of payday lending operations per capita.
The director of the new agency, Richard Cordray, will participate in the hearing.
But Alabama Republicans are criticizing both Cordray's appointment, which was made by President Obama without congressional approval, and the bureau itself as an overreach of federal authority by the Obama administration.
The hearing will include testimony from experts about payday lending, public comments and representatives of the payday lending industry.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has launched the first federal, non-bank program to regulate payday lenders of all sizes.