How Employers Can Run Predatory Lenders Out of Business (and Why They Should)
February 20, 2013
The problems of financial illiteracy and insecurity can be dangerous in the long-term, writes Michael Zakaras for Forbes. One recent report notes that 43 percent of Americans are “liquid asset poor,” meaning they have next to nothing to use in a financial emergency. Although the problem is present in all income groups, it is a particular issue among low-income workers. Many of these consumers use payday lenders as a "safety net," although such lenders charge high rates and fees. The Center for Responsible Lending reports that the typical payday borrower takes out an average nine loans per year at annual interest rates over 400 percent. Just as many healthcare plans encourage a preventive healthcare approach, employers may want to encourage a similar attitude toward financial security. For example, Jonathan Harrison, CEO of the B Corp Emerge Financial Wellness, hopes to develop a new asset class called the workplace loan. Employees would be able to apply for small, affordable loans through partner banks and credit unions, with their job tenure serving as a substitute for credit. Some studies suggest that there is a three-to-one return on every dollar invested in employee financial wellness.
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