Londoner speaks out on agony of payday loans as campaigners call for crackdown

When Betty Morrison moved to London, she was trying to escape a payday loan that she couldn’t afford to pay off.

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When Betty Morrison moved to London, she was trying to escape a payday loan that she couldn’t afford to pay off.


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Now she’s battling the same cycle after turning to a high-interest loan to pay a $ 300 surgery bill for her dog. She feels stuck and is taking more and more payday loans from different lenders to try to catch up.

“Not everyone has a family, not everyone has someone to rely on for that kind of money,” Morrison said.

“I had to pay for my dog ​​or she would be dead.”

She’s reached a breaking point. Morrison, 46, said she plans to seek credit counseling in hopes of settling her debt.

” I can not do it. I can no longer afford payday loans, ”she said. “There is no way out of this.”

It’s a growing problem for people across the country, and a London advocacy group is calling for regulatory changes and alternative options for those who don’t have enough money to cover bills or expenses for ’emergency.


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The London branch of Acorn Canada, a newly formed activist group, is calling on the federal and provincial governments to crack down on controversial payday lenders by lowering the maximum interest rate, making sure borrowers understand the terms of their loans and creating opportunities for people to access low-interest credit, among other recommendations.

The province regulates payday lenders, capping the fees they can charge at $ 15 for every $ 100 borrowed for two weeks. This equates to an annual interest rate of 391 percent.

London North Center NDP MP Terence Kernaghan said his party is also pushing for a borrowers bill of rights.

“A lot of people think they weren’t made aware of the additional products, a lot are unaware of their reimbursement terms and the majority of people are very uncomfortable negotiating the rates,” Kernaghan said. .


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He would also like to set maximum interest rates at an annual rate of 20 percent, plus the Bank of Canada’s overnight rate.

“This leaves the possibility for these small businesses to make a profit, but not a profit off the backs of people in difficulty.”

  1. Payday lenders in Canada are increasingly restricted by regulation as more municipalities seek to impose restrictions on their business activities and restrict the number of physical locations.

    Rules blitz suggests payday lenders follow new rules

  2. A payday loan facility is featured on Grand Avenue West in Chatham Friday.  Chatham-Kent council will receive a report regarding possible industry regulations at Monday's meeting.  (Trevor Terfloth / The Daily News)

    Municipalities target payday lenders

In London, district 3 of the county. Mo Salih lobbied for stricter rules for payday loan stores, and the city council tightened its business licensing regulations in 2017. Payday lenders are now required to post interest rates in a highly visible place and hand out brochures on debt counseling and money management to anyone who expresses interest on a loan.

A regulations blitz the following year said all targeted businesses had complied with the rules.


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Acorn’s problem is also the growing number of options online for getting money fast. That’s what Morrison used, turning to loans she could easily get online through cellphone apps amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“People need to be informed about their rights and obligations when it comes to reimbursement even more,” said Kernaghan.

“You wouldn’t want someone to just click a few screens without reading the fine print and then find out they’re paying outrageous rates. “

Morrison said she felt like there was nowhere to turn for help.

“There is no help for anyone on a poor or even moderate income,” she said.

“There is no longer a happy medium. There are poor people and there are rich people.


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