That’s what the boss of a payday loan firm thinks I should do. The man behind QuickLoans has closed down his company due to "threats of political interference by both parties". And he saves his best venom for me…
In his error-strewn statement (read it in full) he says:
“We believe that a ‘political correct’ group of people and politicians with no experience of lending appear to think that lending is easy and that these people don’t seem to take into account that not all of our customers make repayments on time, if at all.
The obvious answer, if they truly believe this, is for them to start their own lending service and undercut companies like us. In our view these people are total hypocrites, Martin Lewis being the biggest of these hypocrites. Out of the £300m he sold MoneySavingExpert.com, he hasn’t loaned a penny to anyone at any rates.”
Rather staggeringly he put this in a press release without even bothering to do the most basic of internet searches to fact-check first. His statement bears little resemblance to reality. (Sadly) his numbers are many times overestimated, and his ‘I’ve never loaned anyone money’ line is also inaccurate.
As I’ve stated both in the Telegraph and here, I’m a peer-to-peer saver. In effect, this means my money is lent out to people at 5-7% a year with flexible repayment terms, rather than the 5,000%+ of some payday lenders.
I also deliberately have some savings with a credit union, not for its rate, but so it can be lent out to help those who are struggling.
Yet, of course, that isn’t his main point – his annoyance is the fact that he believes people are trying to kill the payday loan industry.
He’s wrong. I at least want to regulate it, not kill it, so that it plays fairly and doesn’t overcharge. I don’t want all payday lenders to close down – that risks pushing people towards loan sharks, but I do want the industry to return to the niche piece of borrowing that it once was, and to ensure there’s a total cost cap so that people aren’t being ripped off.
In other countries where this has happened, payday lenders have still made money. Not all will survive, but frankly, I’m not sure we want every second store on our high street to be a payday lender anyway.
So no apology from me. I am proudly not involved in payday lending (barring via a credit union), but I will continue both here and in broadcast to provide information on how to cut debt costs, cheap alternatives to payday loans, debt crisis help, mental health and debt as well as campaigning on people’s financial issues and supporting credit union provision.
In my view, this is more of a public service than offering hugely expensive payday loans.