CALGARY, AB – During the last election the Federal government made a promise to address payday loan fees and interest. Social service organizations demand that the government honor its promises.
Momentum is a Calgary non-profit group, has presented an official paper last week urging the federal government to make loans with high interest illegal. The Canadian Illegal Code now specifies the definition of a criminal interest rate of anything greater than 60% annually.
“This is simply too high, especially for individuals living on a low or precarious income to be able to dig their way out of debt,” Courtney Mo who is Momentum’s policy and study manager, stated. According to Mo are not subject to the criminal code’s restrictions.
“As a result that interest rates have increased approximately 400% in the United States. This doesn’t even include any other fees such as insurance, a loan, a site to buy Emergency Loans online, and other high-cost charges related to credit. In the end, the process of determining what you’ll pay for the entire price of a loan could be a challenge “Mo stated. “If you were to acquire a $300 payday loan, which is generally a two-week loan, but most people need to roll over that loan – so (in fact), if you had that loan for up to a year, let’s say you’d be paying $1,170 for that $300 loan.”
CRIMINAL THRESHOLDS ARE BEING REDUCED
Momentum is calling for the rate of interest for criminals to be reduced to 36%, which includes fees and other expenses as well as an exemption for payday loans to be removed.
Tina Michelle Moller has taken out payday loans in the past. After suffering back injuries that she suffered while working as a postal worker, she was fired.
“A disability isn’t always something you can plan for. And this is something that happens to a lot of families and individuals. It’s an emergency; they’re facing either increased costs or a loss of income,” Moller explained.
Moller was able to pay off her debt and increased her savings through Momentum’s programs. Moller also started an entirely brand new job as a financial consultant helping others avoid falling into the traps of easy credit or excessive credit.
“There are certain people that have bad habits, no matter what,” Moller said. “Perhaps you’re bankrupt due to the fact that they’ve bought the latest phone, and their monthly bill is $150 which they cannot pay for. Isn’t that right?
“That is something that some people do,” she explained. “However, there are people who are in situations where there was nothing they could do to avoid losing their job or falling into poverty.”
“However If you’re paying interest of 36 the debt will increase by 36% in the space of two years. The compound interest that works to your disadvantage is a risky situation for you to find yourself in.
“However, many, many individuals only recognize the necessity now,” she said. “They are unconcerned about what will happen in two years. And that’s the true risk because payday lenders aren’t required to convey the risks of high-interest loans to you.”
In the Alberta government’s annual report on payday loans, 73,080 people in Alberta have taken 28,401 payday loans in 2020. The total amount borrowed was $219,543,385. 51
Here are the breakdowns of loan amounts:
From $1 to $499 are offered. $29,773,237.65
From $500 up to $999 can be obtained. $65,493,073.45
The loans range from $1,000 to $1,500 can be obtained. $124,277,074.41
NATIONAL ACTION DAY
A few demonstrators connected to ACORN (Association of Community Organisations for Change Right Now) Canada, staged a protest in front of a Money Mart on International Avenue located just a few blocks away from Momentum’s office in the southeast of Calgary. This is part of ACORN’s group’s nationwide day of action which also called for the Federal Government to act against payday lenders.
In a news release on their website ACORN Canada urges supporters to write to the Secretary of the Middle-Class Prosperity Department Mona Fortier, requesting several changes to loan policies which include reducing the interest rate for installment loans from 60% to 30%, including all costs that are associated with loans with regard to interest rates; and establishing a federally-funded equitable credit benefit to ensure that everyone with low incomes is able to access affordable credit.
THE PROVINCE REACTS
The provincial government oversees payday loans due to a federal criminal code exemption.
Tricia Velthuizen as press secretary to the minister of Service Alberta stated to CTV that “We are exemption committed to safeguarding Albertans from predatory lenders, and we have some of the toughest payday lending rules in the country. We are not actively reviewing the province’s comprehensive payday loan regulation framework.”