Pay Day Loans

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2014 National Women's Conference
17 October 2013

Conference notes with concern the growing existence of pay day loan companies, particularly targeting the low paid who are struggling financially.

Research by the insurance company Aviva found that where a woman is the main breadwinner, families were more than twice as likely to have taken out a payday loan in the last year. Further, the number of women being declared bankrupt had risen from 30% to almost 50% since 2000 – attributed by financial experts to the ease of access to and high cost of payday loans.

Households reliant on a woman’s salary typically receive nearly a third less income and have significantly more debt and smaller savings than when a man is the main source of earnings, leaving women vulnerable to seeking crisis loans, encouraged by companies targeting women and using female celebrities to front their advertisements campaigns.

Pay day loan companies charge exorbitant interest rates – with the lowest quoting an Annual Percentage Rate (APR) in excess of 1360% – rising to almost three times that amount.

Where borrowers are unable to make the scheduled repayment, roll over charges quickly mount up, creating massive debts which the borrower has no realistic chance of repaying.

Conference is deeply concerned at the impact on women and their families, including the impact on women’s mental health as the stress of trying to meet impossible repayments increases .

Conference calls upon the national women’s committee to work with the NEC and appropriate UNISON departments to and campaign to:

• Lobby the government for tougher regulation of payday loan companies, including capped interest rates and;

• Raise awareness of the assistance available to members in financial crisis through There For You, debt advice services and credit unions;

• Seek to ensure that UNISON does not invest in unscrupulous companies involved in pay day loan activities.