At last – a cap on payday lenders

PaydayIt has been a long time coming, but at last the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) has announced the intention for a lending cap of 100% of the original loan amount. This is proposed to be in place by January.

Already there is significant change taking place in the payday lending market. In the last three months the amount of loans given reduced by 50% for the same period last year. Clearly the changes that were implemented in July are having an effect; limit on roll-overs, more affordability checks and controls on CPA’s which is a mechanism that has allowed lenders to take money from people’s bank accounts.

Further evidence of this was seen today as the Money Shop will have to refund over £700,000 of interest and default charges to 6,247 customers who received a loan that exceeded its own lending criteria. This was following a review by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

One of the largest lenders in the pay day loan industry, Wonga, appointed a new chairman yesterday. Mr WongaHaste admitted that they are to become a smaller and less profitable operation. The company will be ditching the appalling puppet advertising campaign – that has been accused of trivialising debt and the potential marketing towards youngsters.

Whilst this is all welcome, it does not resolve the symptom cause of people needing payday loans.
Credit Unions will play a very important role in the solution going forward as not only do they offer affordable loans, they also help give money management and debt advice. A crucial part of helping stop the cycle of debt that leads people to payday lenders in the first place.

CreditUnionThe UK currently has around 400 credit unions and a million members in total. Credit unions are usually move supportive than the high street towards people with bad credit histories. Plus APR rates vary between 7-40%.

The Government has now put in £38m for the Credit Union Expansion Project, launching next April. Within the scheme dozens of credit unions will bring together their resources to cut down on administration costs.

The project is run by the Association of British Credit Unions Ltd. A key part of the project is to improve the industry’s use of IT to enable instant credit scoring. Currently many Credit Unions will take over a week to lend money, where as payday lenders can offer instant loans. So this step will provide Credit Unions with a way to combat the USP of instant loans that payday lenders have had.

Already experts in the payday industry expect their market to contract by over 40% in the next year.

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