Posted February 18, 2021
About a half dozen people dropped by the Money Mart on Concession Street Feb. 17.
But they weren’t there to get a loan.
They joined a protest group taking part in one of nine ACORN Canada national day of action events across the country aimed at what the ACORN is calling “predatory” payday loan operators that have been charging interest rates ranging from 25 to 500 per cent.
Lisa Hind, a member of ACORN’s Mountain chapter, called on the federal government to crack down on “out of control” interest rates.
“Many of our members are taking out instalment loans and are caught in a vicious cycle of debt,” said Hind, who pointed to a national ACORN study on high interest loans provided by businesses that are not banks or credit unions that was released on the same day. “Forty-five per cent said they were rushed to sign an agreement and 17 per cent said they could not make payment.”
The study featured mostly online input from 376 people in English and French.
More than half were in the 31 to 65 age group with less than $20,000 in annual income and 13 per cent indicated they had taken out high interest loans due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
ACORN Canada is calling on the federal government to implement several measures including: creation of a national multi-jurisdictional anti-predatory loan strategy; demanding banks create alternative low interest credit products for low income people for emergencies; lowering non-sufficient fund fees from $45 to $10; and amending the criminal code to lower the maximum interest rate instalment from 60 to 30 per cent.
When contacted by Hamilton Community News a spokesperson for Money Mart said: “We do not have a comment.”
Article by Mark Newman for Hamilton News