Ontario Can Do More to Help Folks Trapped by Payday Loans

February 27, 2017
Cardus

ONTARIO CAN DO MORE TO HELP FOLKS TRAPPED BY PAYDAY LOANS
Cardus Work & Economics Program Director Brian Dijkema offers research-backed testimony on payday loan reforms to committee at Ontario legislature

February 27, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

HAMILTON – The Ontario government’s Putting Consumers First Act (Bill 59) takes some positive steps on payday loans, but also leaves out several important measures that could help consumers. While it is good to see that Bill 59 tries to reduce repeat borrowing from payday lenders and ease repayment of loans with usurious interest rates, the bill is too focused on regulation. Brian Dijkema, Work & Economics Program Director at public policy think tank Cardus, told a legislative committee that consumers attracted to payday loans need alternative options.

The Cardus report Banking on the Margins acknowledges that there will always be demand for short-term loans from consumers who cannot access credit. However, two practical measures can help:

  • Governments, community foundations, and religious groups could help decrease the risk for financial institutions to make small-dollar loans available by offering funds to backstop loan losses or by providing market-based incentives for new alternatives. By empowering borrowers to achieve financial stability and avoid the potential harms of payday-loan use, enabling small-dollar loans could reduce or eliminate the harmful ripple effects of payday-loan dependency.
  • Governments – especially at the provincial and municipal level – can promote payday loan alternatives that already exist. By leveraging their significant communications reach, governments can help raise consumer awareness of lending alternatives run by credit unions, banks, or other institutions.

“There is little the government can do on its own to meet demand for small-dollar, short-term loans for real needs,” Dijkema told the Standing Committee on Social Policy. “That’s why we’ve recommended that governments partner with credit unions and others to provide better, cheaper alternatives to payday loans for consumers facing a credit crunch.”

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About Cardus

Cardus is a think tank dedicated to the renewal of North American social architecture. It conducts independent and original research, produces several periodicals, and regularly stages events with Senior Fellows and interested constituents across Canada and the U.S. To learn more, visit: www.cardus.ca and follow us on Twitter @cardusca.

MEDIA INQUIRIES
Brian Dijkema
Cardus – Work & Economics Program Director
905-730-7321
bdijkema@cardus.ca

ABOUT CARDUS

Cardus is a non-partisan, not-for-profit public policy think tank focused on the following areas: education, family, work & economics, social cities, end-of-life care, and religious freedom. It conducts independent and original research, produces several periodicals, and regularly stages events with Senior Fellows and interested constituents across Canada and the U.S.