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State’s largest moneylender to shut 

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Large numbers of people are expected to take out loans for home improvement works.

Large numbers of people are expected to take out loans for home improvement works.

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Large numbers of people are expected to take out loans for home improvement works.

The largest moneylender in the State is to stop issuing loans here.

Provident is shutting down its sub-prime lending operations in this country and in the UK, where it is headquartered.

The doorstep lending operation has been losing money in both markets since before the pandemic.

But its losses grew hugely last year when it lost €87m, according to financial results also published on Monday.

Licensed moneylenders in Ireland typically charge more than 86pc. Some charge up to 288pc once collection charges are added in.

It is estimated that there are more than 380,000 customers of moneylenders in Ireland.

A note on the Irish website of Provident states that it has been operating here for a number of years but “the tough economic situation has resulted in us making the difficult decision to stop lending”.

From this week it will not be issuing any new loans. This includes new loans to existing customers.

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It says that those who have already signed a loan agreement, will still get their loan.

Those who have not yet signed a loan agreement will not get a loan.

Authorised by the Central Bank here as a moneylender, Provident said those who have existing loans that are not yet paid off will continue to have an agent for the company deal with them.

It advises those who are struggling to make repayments to speak to its agent, or to contact Mabs, the Money Advice and Budgeting Service.

Provident in the UK has faced a string of mis-selling claims.

In March, it wrote to its customers warning that its consumer credit division could collapse into administration because of the deluge of compensation claims.

According to the Irish website for Provident its interest rates, expressed in annual percentage rate terms, range from 157pc in this market to 187pc.

It says this means the cost of credit for every €100 borrowed ranges from €30 to €56.

In February an Oireachtas committee was told middle-income people are increasingly using moneylenders.

Traditionally, women with children in rented accommodation have been core customers for moneylending.

But more high-income people are now using moneylenders, with most of those who borrow from them in employment, the Oireachtas Finance Committee has been told.

Chair of the Credit Union Advisory Committee, Lorraine Corcoran, told the committee that moneylenders were moving into all sectors of society.

It was not just something associated with a “female with children in rented accommodation. It is creeping into other areas and other sections of society. We see it with ABC1s.”

ABC1 is a term used for a consumer from one of the three higher social and economic groups, which consist of people who have more education and better-paid jobs than those in other groups.

The committee was told by Fianna Fáil’s Jim O’Callaghan he hopes the Oireachtas enacts the Consumer Credit (Amendment) Bill 2018 that would cap what moneylenders can charge.

Members were told the use of doorstep lenders is hugely expensive.

A typical moneylender loan of €500, at a rate of 187pc, will cost €150 in interest payments. This means it will cost a total of €650 to pay back a €500 loan from a moneylender.

This compares with a credit union ‘It Makes Sense’ loan rate, which would have a cost of €16 on top of the original loan amount.

‘It Makes Sense’ is a low-cost scheme in participating credit unions for those on social welfare.


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