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Payday Loan Firms Under Scrutiny

Posted in: Updates // Written on behalf of Cuming & Gillespie
May 21, 2015

Kelly Cryderman, Calgary HeraldPublished: Sunday, April 20, 2008Minutes after paying $60 in fees for a $300 loan, Terry Hartley just shrugs.”This one’s not bad,” Hartley, 47, says of the interest on the week-long loan. “It’s not cheap, but it’s better than some of them.”Hartley, a courier who earns about $600 a week said he’s recently declared bankruptcy — fallout from his divorce and “wasting money.” He has a bank account, but no line of credit.Two weeks ago, he fell behind on some bills and had to go for an advance at a payday loan company on Macleod Trail.”You can only get half of what your paycheque is,” he said.One week later, Hartley went back. This time to take out a loan to pay off almost all of the first loan, which he didn’t have the money to pay off.The cost of two weeks grace: another $60.”That’s more or less all it is — convenience,” Hartley said, shrugging once more, adding he hopes he won’t have to get a cash advance again this year.When a borrower like Hartley takes out another loan to cover the first, with new fees, it’s termed a “rollover” in the payday loan industry. Rollovers have been banned by larger payday loan companies, as they trap some borrowers in a cycle of loans.Alongside other provinces, the Alberta government is now grappling with rollovers and other contentious issues as it debates how to properly police the rapidly growing payday loan industry. This week will see the end of consultations on new regulations for the industry.While there has been little attention paid by people not intimately involved, it will be no easy task for the government to come up with rules that please both businesses and consumer advocates.Some see payday loan companies as shady exploiters of the poor and desperate, or those with bad credit. Others say they provide a much-needed service that banks and credit unions won’t touch, in part due to the high number of defaults on loans.”The payday loan industry is one that evokes strong opinions from both sides,” said Brock Ketcham, who is leading the Alberta government’s review of the industry in the consumer services branch.The people who use payday loans are charged $20 to $50 for every $100 they borrow to tide them over until payday. Money Mart, the Cash Store, Western Cash Mart or EZ Cash Advance and numerous others are all firms that provide small, short-term loans with high interest-rates and fees that in some instances add up to 1,000 per cent or more, if calculated on an annual basis.Whether it be rising consumer costs or an increasingly willing attitude when it comes to taking on debt, Canadians have not shied away from using services offered by the payday loan companiesFrom just a handful of stores in the early 1990s, Canada now has at least 1,350 payday loan outlets, with more than 250 of those storefronts in Alberta.”All you have to do is compare a Yellow Pages today with one three or four years ago, and you would see there’s a very significant rise in the number of outlets,” Ketcham said.The province itself has a strong connection to the industry. The Canadian payday loan industry has its longest histories in B.C. and Alberta, and the two largest providers in the country — Money Mart and Cash Store Financial (formerly known as Rentcash Inc.) — both were founded in Edmonton.(page 1 of 3) – full article is available here.Excerpt posted for your convenience from Canada.com, no copyright or ownership of this article is claimed by cuminggillespie.com. The full article is available here.

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