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Are payday lenders all bad?

Payday lenders have been in the news a lot lately for a host of reasons, none of them particularly good.  Let’s have a quick recap:

The Cash Store Financial

The Cash Store Financial has been under fire for their unethical lending practices that have resulted in their loss of license under the Ontario government.  After fighting in court for over a year they eventually gave up, tried an end run around the rules by swapping out their payday loans for something they claimed was a line of credit, only to get slapped by the Ontario government once again.  With nowhere else to turn they fell back on creditor protection while they reorganize, which from the sound of it means they are simply going out of business.


In the UK, Wonga has not only been hammered on by the media and the government for their business practices, but the actual Archbishop of Canterbury has weighed in on the situation, claiming they want to “compete them out of business.”  Not a single day goes by without another news article talking about regulating the industry over their perceived abuses.

Vantage Funding

While not technically a payday lender, they certainly claimed to be one.  The difference being that once they got their hands on an applicant’s financial details they proceeded to drain their victims’ accounts, $30 at a time.  The masterminds behind it, Sean C. Mulrooney and Odafe Stephen Ogaga, managed to bilk unsuspecting consumers out of approximately $5 million before they were shut down by the FTC.

Cheque Center

Another UK based lender, this one was actually forced to give up the payday loan business after fierce criticism from the public.

And Now For Something Different

Imagine my surprise when I came across this bit of news featuring a Canadian payday lender actually offering a bursary for students going into the financial industry.  Setting aside the small bit of cognitive dissonance in a company who fundamentally must earn the bulk of its income from people do not have a financial education, it’s still nice to see some kind of positive news from that sector.

You would think that other lenders would consider doing the same to rehabilitate their images.  Instead of being known solely for gouging customers, if even a small percentage of their profits were redirected towards the public good it would surely make a difference.

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