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Home > Opinion > FTAdviser Blog > Hal Austin's blogs


What recourse for the vulnerable?

Payday lenders are moving in with a vengeance on bank lending, in particular overdrafts, and already the do-gooders are up in arms at this intrusion.

By Hal Austin | Published May 21, 2012 | comments

For all the reasons we have already discussed, such as 1000 per cent APRs, the intervention of these lenders, many of them unscrupulous and a stop away from door-step lenders with their killer dogs and tattoo-ed enforcers, must be placed squarely on the banks and regulators.

As we have said before, if you are a single mother on an estate with crying children and someone comes along and offers to lend you a couple hundreds pounds, the last thing to cross your mind would be the rate of interest.

And, if these hard-pressed mothers cannot meet the repayment deadlines and the “lenders” offer to rollover the loan for a further week or month, they will seem like angels in disguise.

Banks are not charities, but there must be a way of allowing basic accounts with a maximum overdraft facility of, for example, £250?

One of the marks of a civilised society is its ability to erect a social safety net for those who have fallen off the highwire that is employment and providing for their loved ones.

The unscrupulous can only exploit this misfortune if we atomise our social existence and pretend that we are on our own.

The two key institutions through which this social protection can best be provided is social security or the banks.

But, if we have a Coalition Government that us determined to impose punitive restrictions on those on benefits, one unintended consequence is driving these same people in the harms of the unscrupulous, or, even worse, in to criminality.

Banks, although not charities, can ease some of this pain – at least to a defined limit.

Hal Austin is editor of Financial Adviser


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Hal Austin

Hal is editor of Financial Adviser and has been for more than a decade. He has previously worked on a number of local and national publications.

Ashley Wassall

Ashley is editor of FTAdviser and writes on all areas of retail finance. Previously supplements editor at Money Management and editor of a European private equity publication.

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John Lappin

John is a weekly contributor to Investment Adviser with 15 years’ experience in financial journalism and 10 years writing on the IFA sector. He was formerly editor of an IFA trade magazine.

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