Payday loans chief defends industry
A PAYDAY loans chief has defended the "demonised" industry – and urged people falling into debt to seek professional help.
John Lamidey MBE hit back at claims high-interest instant loan companies were targeting youngsters.
Mr Lamidey, chief executive of the Consumer Finance Association, which represents the eight largest UK firms, told The Herald they offered a vital service.
"We lend across the income range and we are not targeting young people over and above anybody else."
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Mr Lamidey said only a quarter of customers were aged between 18 and 25 – and that many borrowers were self-employed people whose monthly incomes were variable.
"If you have a lean month, the ability to borrow £100-£200 is really, really helpful," he said. "It actually helps people stay out of debt.
"We actually turn down nine out of ten people who apply for one. We don't want to deal with people who don't pay us back."
Mr Lamidey said annual percentage rates – often advertised at well over 2,000 per cent – were misleading.
"It sounds wonderful and you can demonise us because it's a large figure but it's just not the case for most people," he said.
"The appropriate measure should be how much it actually costs you – and it costs between £10 and £30 to take out a short-term loan of £100.
"There is no lack of regulation in this industry and the people who are not practicing properly are being weeded out."
Mr Lamidey said customers struggling to repay a payday loan should contact their lender and independent debt advisers.
"If for some reason you find you're not able to pay it back, talk to the lender because we all have processes set in stone to assist people through that."