National Report on High Interest Loans

ACORN Canada undertook a study focusing on high interest loans, especially when taken online. For the purpose of the study, high interest loans were defined as loans such as payday loans, installment loans, title loans etc. that are taken from companies/institutions that are not regular banks or credit unions.

The study was conducted to examine the experience of lower-income consumers in the increasingly available online high-cost credit markets.

The study was divided into three phases - conducting a literature review and webscan which was undertaken by Prosper Canada; legislative scan to understand the regulatory framework; and a national survey to capture experiences of people who have taken high interest loans, especially online.



State of Fair Banking in Canada

Everyone needs to bank and nearly everyone has a relationship with at least one financial institution. Financial Institutions need relationships with consumers too, in order to thrive as businesses. The role these relationships play in financial decision making for Canadians is an important consideration for anyone seeking to understand the financial health of Canadians and the impact of the banking sector in Canada. This report discusses the findings from a national sample of both banking consumers and lenders who were asked about their perspectives on fairness, access, credibility and transparency.



Financial Health Index: 2019 Findings and 3-Year Trends Report

This report explores consumer financial health, wellness/ stress and resilience for Canadians across a range of financial health indicators, demographics and all provinces excluding Quebec. This report provides topline results from the 2019 Financial Health Index study and three-year trends from 2017 to 2019.



High-Cost Alternative Financial Services: The Customer Experience

In early 2017 Momentum reached out to over 50 community members and participants to better understand local experiences with high-cost alternative financial services. In addition to connecting with individuals through interviews, Momentum hosted community consultations in partnership with Poverty Talks! and Sunrise Community Link Resource Centre. The following document summarizes what we learned from these conversations and the loan contracts that borrowers shared with us. It also identifies several themes that emerged from these discussions.



Summary Brief: High-Cost Alternative Financial Services

Many Albertans turn to high-cost alternative financial services when they need a short-term fix for a financial issue. Though these services are expensive and unsafe, they are often the only option for low-income individuals, particularly those who struggle to obtain credit at mainstream financial institutions. High-cost alternative financial services contribute to a two-tiered banking system, in which the poor often pay more for inferior services.

Without more stringent regulation, and in the absence of safe and affordable short-term credit options, Albertans living on lower-incomes will continue to experience financial exclusion and take on heavy debt loads – both of which are major contributors to long-term poverty.



High-Cost Alternative Financial Services: Policy Options

Many Canadians turn to high-cost alternative financial services when they need a short-term fix for a budgetary issue. Though these banking and credit alternatives are a convenient choice for individuals in search of fast cash, particularly those who face barriers to obtaining credit at a bank or credit union, access comes at a steep price and with a high degree of risk. On its own, one high-cost loan has the potential to trap a borrower in a cycle of debt, not only amplifying their short-term problem, but also limiting their ability to secure the income and assets needed to thrive in the long term.

The policy recommendations presented in this brief, and summarized in the chart on page two,  are inspired by the regulatory initiatives across the country, and reflect ways in which all three levels of government can contribute to better consumer protection for all Canadians.

 



Microdata on household vulnerability in Canada: 1999 to 2014


This paper contributes to the literature on the state of household finances in Canada by constructing new indicators using Canadian microdata based on Canadian and international literature. Using data from the Survey of Financial Security (1999, 2005 and 2012), and also the Canadian Financial Capability Survey (2008 and 2014), it reports on 10 separate indicators of household financial vulnerability. Using logistic regression, it also models selected household characteristics that appear to serve as protective or risk factors for each measure of financial vulnerability. The goal is not to dispute analysis of aggregate data from macroeconomic sources, but instead to complement it, contributing to a more nuanced picture of trends and the current state of household finances in Canada




Handout 4-8: Alternative financial services


This handout is from Module 4 of the Financial Literacy Facilitator Resources. Alternative financial services are outside of the traditional, regulated banking system. They do not take deposits like a bank or credit union.

To view full Financial Literacy Facilitator Resources, click here.




High cost lending in Canada


This webinar, "High cost lending in Canada: Risks, regulations, and alternatives," is about why high cost lending products are concerning, especially for financially vulnerable Canadians. Speakers discuss what is driving the use of these products, what kind of regulations are involved, and what advocacy and financial product solutions could look like. The speakers are:

  • Jerry Buckland from Canadian Mennonite University
  • Courtney Hare from Momentum.

Read the presentation slides for this webinar.




Small-Dollar Credit – Protecting Consumers and Fostering Innovation

Unaccounted: The Millions of Americans without Bank Accounts

Predatory Lending: A Survey of High Interest Alternative Financial Service Users

Payday Loans: Market Trends

Canadian Consumer Finance Association: Filling the Gap – Canada’s Payday Lenders

Fringe Financial Institutions, The Unbanked, and the Precariously Banked: Survey Results from Prince George, B.C.

Towards a Comprehensive and Inclusive Consumer Protection Framework for Canada. Submission to Finance Canada

Financial Inclusion for Homeless Persons and Those at Risk

Financial Literacy and Aboriginal Peoples

Health Check: Low-income Household Finances in Canada

Municipal Financial Empowerment: A Supervitamin for Public Programs. Strategy #5: Integrating Asset Building

The Real Cost of Payday Lending

Since the early 1990s payday lending businesses have become increasingly prolific in most parts of Canada, including Calgary. Social agencies and advocates working to reduce poverty view payday lenders and other fringe financial businesses as problematic for those looking to exit the cycle of poverty. Payday lenders charge interest rates that, when annualized, top 400%. The industry justifies this by stating that comparisons to an annual rate are unfair as loans are not meant to or allowed to last longer than two months. However, the fact remains that these businesses charge far more for credit than mainstream financial institutions and are more prevalent in lower income neighbourhoods.



CFPB Proposal for Payday and Other Small Loans

Supplemental findings on payday, payday installment, and vehicle title loans, and deposit advance products

Banking on the Margins: Finding Ways to Build an Enabling Small Dollar Credit Market

Consumer Experiences in Online Payday Loans

Small changes, real impact: Applying behavioral economics in asset-building programs, A brief from the BETA Project

Choosing Financial Services Where the Options are Limited: A Report on a Survey of Financial Service Choice of Residents in Inner-city Neighbourhoods in Toronto, Vancouver & Winnipeg

Does Community Access to Alternative Financial Services Relate to Individuals’ Use of These Services? Beyond Individual Explanations