Northern Ireland – Pawns in the game of Payday and short term lending

Much like their neighbours Britain and Scotland, Northern Ireland seems to be suffering under the oppressive regime called Payday. An institution so “evil and diabolical” that its sole purpose seems to be to enslave the population into financial ruin with its insidious interest rates and foul fees and charges!

According to the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) in 2012, 470 people out of the 4700 people who sought help to solve debt problems were having trouble paying back payday credit. Regulators blame the problems on the fact that payday lenders practice irresponsible business ethics, targeting financially vulnerable people, rolling over loans and generally lending to people who have no chance of paying the loans back. Payday lenders, in other words, seem to be blatantly neglecting the section of society that these short term loans were created for and instead pushing them onto people who can’t possibly use them in the way they are intended to be used. It looks like Payday is going to be the ruin of us all!

All of this begs the question, why are so many people in Northern Ireland who don’t really have the means to take out a high interest short term loan doing just that? Rachel Cray, manager of the Money Advice Programme has this to say about the average household in Northern Ireland:

Increase in amount of people applying for emergency loans in Northern Ireland

“All the money advisers in our network reported a significant increase in the amount of clients seeking help for a payday loan debt. We are worried this will only continue to increase as more people are affected by stretched household budgets and the increased cost of living. A third of the people here believe they are only one month away from financial difficulty should they face an unexpected expense, or a drop in income.”

Northern Ireland like the rest of the UK will enjoy the new regulations as of the January 2015. Our fair country will finally be able to crawl out from under the tyrannical rule of these legalized loan sharks. They will be capped! Their advertising curbed! Their interest rates, fees and charges made transparent!

It should follow therefore that all will become right in the world. People should rise confidently out of debt and now that payday is not preying on the poor and weak, the poor and weak should prosper, no?

No! Because it is not the payday lenders that cause the poor to be poor. It is not payday lenders that cause people to become desperate. It is not payday lenders who are at fault that these people literally have nowhere else to turn. These people are not borrowing money to pay for a holiday or a night on the town. They need to pay their rent, buy food, and pay school fees. The bank is not going to give them credit, neither is the building society, it is unlikely they will qualify for a credit card, and anyway if they did what are they going to do when it comes to paying that back? Perhaps something else needs to change in our society.