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Wonga to cut third of staff following new clampdown on payday …

Wonga is slashing about a third of its workforce to cut costs as it responds to a wider clampdown on unfair practices in the payday lending market.

The controversial lender said 325 jobs would go, mainly in the UK and Ireland. Wonga’s Dublin office will close as part of the plans, as will its office in Tel Aviv.

Related: Payday lending will shrink but only a complete ban will do

Andy Haste, the lender’s chairman, said: “Wonga can no longer sustain its high cost base, which must be significantly reduced to reflect our evolving business and market.

“Regrettably, this means we’ve had to take tough but necessary decisions about the size of our workforce. We appreciate how difficult this period will be for all of our colleagues and we’ll support them throughout the consultation process.”

Wonga’s decision to cut jobs came on the same day that the Competition and Markets Authority announced new rules to force payday lenders into being more transparent about their charges. The CMA is hoping that it will create more competition in the market, lowering costs for millions of consumers who rely on the loans.

Wonga employs a total of 950 people worldwide, but all the job losses relate to its UK payday loans business, which employs 650 people – about 280 in the UK, 175 in Ireland, 185 in South Africa and 10 in Israel.

It is understood about 100 jobs will go in the UK alone. All jobs will go in Ireland and Israel.

The group is aiming to achieve overall cost savings of at least £25m over the next two years, following a period of rapid expansion that saw costs treble between 2012 and 2014.

When Haste was appointed chairman last July, he said Wonga would become smaller and less profitable as it scaled back the number of customers it extended loans to, imposing stricter lending criteria.

In October the company was forced by the City watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority, to write off £220m of loans to 375,000 borrowers, who it admitted should never have been given loans.

Wonga also announced on Tuesday that its former chairman Robin Klein was stepping down from the board after eight years.

The payday loans industry is undergoing a major shakeup as regulators seek to make the market fairer for cash-strapped consumers.

Under the new rules announced on Tuesday, lenders will have to list their deals on price-comparison websites and make it easier for customers to compare the total cost of different loans offered by various lenders.

Payday lenders will also have to provide customers with a summary of the total cost of their loans, as well as how additional fees such as late repayment affect the cost.

The recommendations were made after a 20-month inquiry into the payday loans industry by the CMA.

The watchdog concluded that a lack of price competition between lenders had driven costs higher for borrowers, with most people failing to shop around partly owing to a lack of clear information on charges.

Simon Polito, who ran the inquiry, said: “We expect that millions of customers will continue to rely on payday loans. Most customers take out several loans a year and the total cost of paying too much for payday loans can build up over time.”

The CMA’s decision follows an earlier clampdown by the UK financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The authority introduced a price cap on 2 January to ensure that borrowers are never forced to repay more than double the amount of their original loan.

Interest and fees were capped at 0.8% a day, lowering the cost for most borrowers, while the total cost of a loan was limited to 100% of the original sum. Default fees were to be capped at £15 to protect people struggling to repay their debts.

Polito said: “The FCA’s price cap will reduce the overall level of prices and the scale of the price differentials but we want to ensure more competition so that the cap does not simply become the benchmark price set by lenders for payday loans.

“We think costs can be driven lower and want to ensure that customers are able to take advantage of price competition to further reduce the cost of their loans. Only price competition will incentivise lenders to reduce the cost borrowers pay for their loans.”

Joanna Elson, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust charity, welcomed the action from the CMA and FCA but added a note of caution: “This is good news for the consumer. More competition and transparency in the payday loan market will ensure that the FCA’s cap on the cost of credit remains precisely that– a cap, not the norm.

“This is a good example of regulators working together to bring about meaningful change in this sector. However, these improvements in the way that payday loans are regulated must not dilute the core message that payday lending remains an extremely expensive way to borrow,” she said.

Payday lenders will be forced to publish the details of their products on at least one price comparison website, authorised by the FCA. The CMA said on Tuesday it would work closely with the FCA to implement the new recommendations.

[…]

Peter Mandelson gets £400,000 tax-free loan from company he owns

Peter Mandelson received £400,000 tax-free in cash last year from a company he owns, accounts filed recently at Companies House reveal.

The company, of which he is the sole shareholder, gave the former secretary of state a loan for that amount in the financial year 2013/14 – a move described by a leading tax campaigner as likely to have been motivated by tax avoidance.

Salary payments or dividends from a small business are liable for tax under UK rules, but in the case of a loan to a director – provided a certain minimum rate of interest specified by HMRC is charged – the borrowing is not liable for tax. The official interest rate that applied at the time was 3.25%.

The accounts for Willbury Limited – a company set up by Mandelson two weeks after the 2010 general election to receive income from his book and public speaking engagements – show the company charged £15,211 in interest on the balance, an amount it refers to as the official rate.

The document shows no repayments were made on the loan by Mandelson during the year, nor was any repayment schedule or term of loan set out.

Such a measure is perfectly legal, but it allows those who take advantage of the mechanism to delay when they pay tax on income earned through their company – potentially indefinitely.

Richard Murphy, a chartered accountant and director of Tax Research UK, said Mandelson’s use of loans raised questions.

“How to extract cash from small companies whilst paying as little tax as possible on the way is a massive part of the UK tax avoidance industry,” he said.

“Directors taking loans from companies they own is one way in which this is done, which has been widely condemned in the past when done by footballers and others. It’s just about impossible to think this is motivated by anything but tax avoidance.

“All politicians, including members of the House of Lords, should not only be seen to comply with the spirit of the law on tax but should be required to do so as a condition of holding office.”

When contacted by the Guardian about the arrangement, a spokesperson for Lord Mandelson said the peer and his company paid all relevant taxes.

The Guardian put to Lord Mandelson that a loan of the sort he had taken from his company could serve to potentially delay tax indefinitely, especially given there was no term of repayment specified in the documents. A spokesman for Mandelson did not address the specific point, but instead issued a statement.

It said: “Willbury Ltd is the company that oversees all of Lord Mandelson’s writing, public speaking, broadcasting and personal commercial undertakings. It pays all relevant UK corporate taxes and Lord Mandelson pays all relevant personal taxes.”

Mandelson recently criticised Labour’s tax policies on wealthy individuals. Speaking on Newsnight last Monday about the mansion tax, Mandelson said Ed Miliband’s plan to tax properties worth more than £2m was “crude” and “sort of short-termist” and would “clobber” homeowners.

In August 2011, the Mail on Sunday reported that Mandelson paid £8m for a four-storey Regent’s Park townhouse with its own wine cellar.

Mandelson’s loan and property dealings previously came under scrutiny after he was forced to resign from Tony Blair’s cabinet in 1998 when it was revealed he failed to declare a secret property loan from Geoffrey Robertson, a fellow Labour MP and tycoon, who was at the time under investigation by Mandelson’s department.

After a brief return to the cabinet, he was forced to resign a second time in 2001 over his involvement in a passport application of Indian billionaire Srichand Hinduja.

Mandelson’s comments on wealth and tax have long attracted a great deal of attention. During the early years of Blair’s premiership, he famously commented to an audience of tech entrepreneurs that he was “intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich as long as they pay their taxes”.

Since Labour’s election defeat in 2010, Mandelson’s attention has turned to the private sector. In addition to releasing his autobiography entitled The Third Man – which had paperback sales of around 13,000 – he has made public speaking appearances for clients including Coca-Cola, Lloyds bank and Samruk-Kazyna, Kazakhstan’s sovereign wealth fund, as well as for mining companies operating in Africa.

Separately, Mandelson established a second company, Global Counsel LLP, in partnership with his long-time aide Ben Wegg-Prosser and the advertising giant WPP.

Global Counsel’s clients include multinationals such as BP, Goldman Sachs and commodities giant Glencore.

In 2012, the Guardian revealed that Mandelson was advising Asia Pulp and Paper, which has been accused by environmental groups of destroying large swaths of an Indonesian rainforest.

[…]

Educating on payday loans/ short term loans | The Quick Loan Shop

Payday lenders have spread across the globe with their offers of short term, immediate loans, either helping those who are in dire need for the credit that banks refuse to offer, or feeding off of the poor and desperate, depending on who is looking at it and why. Most of the Payday controversy comes out of the UK, the USA, Australia, and South Africa. Across the pond a teacher from Reading, Ohio recently decided to take his students out on a field trip. His mission: to show these young adults that pitfalls of the dreaded Payday and Pawn shop industry. Packing 40 odd students into a bus, they set off to visit the world of quick cash.

Mr. Page is the economics teacher at one of the local high schools and as is faced daily with the struggle that his students go through to survive. Many have served prison sentence, some are already parents or have to work after school to help their families financially. Part of this teacher’s mission is to instill sound financial values in these kids; good saving habits, the need for a great credit rating.

The first stop is LoanMax, a short term lender where you can use your paid off car as surety. The students were informed that the interest rate for a short term loan would be 24.99% and that should the client default on even one payment, the car could be instantly repossessed.

Second stop is CheckSmart. The welcome is not very enthusiastic to say the least and when the students begin to ask about Payday lending and tax refund anticipation loans they are informed that the manager is not available to answer their questions.

Third stop is at CashAmerica. This establishment is bustling with activity. It is Friday and everyone is in to pay on their loans. There is an array of goods that have been used to pay off loans on sale. Here a friendly member of staff happily explains how things work at CashAmerica. She mentions that most of the repossessed goods on display are bargains worth looking at should one be shopping for hi-tech equipment, jewelry or other valuables. Interestingly it is here that the kids meet a somewhat ethical approach to the Payday loan industry. As they leave the establishment they are strongly urged to protect their credit scores.

Mr. Page is amazed, “I was taken by her honesty. She said that this is where you go when you’re in trouble, and she worked there! Everything in there had been taken from somebody.”

The day ends back at the school library where a representative a Credit Union as well as one of the local banks came to address the students. Finally the students fill out a work sheet with resources and information on the different Payday, Pawn, and Quick Loan options on the market today.

It is innovative teachers like Mr. Page who can really make a difference by educating the public on how to use these services, when to use these services, and how not to get into difficulty by taking out cash loans when one shouldn’t do so.

This entry was posted in Short term loans on September 22, 2014 by . […]

M&A Boom Eludes Loan Desks as Companies Favor Stock

Syndicated loan bankers in Europe are missing out on the biggest boom in mergers and acquisitions since 2007 as companies shun the market to fund transactions with stock.

Deals more than doubled to $479 billion in the last three months compared with the same period in 2013, while loans funding takeovers totaled $57 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Companies used stock for more than 60 percent of ventures compared with an average of 14 percent since 2008.

“There hasn’t yet been as much M&A financing activity as the market would have wanted,” said Keith Taylor, head of loan syndicate for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Barclays Plc in London. “That’s partly a function of corporate borrowers having a high proportion of cash and stock deals that require less financing.”

Europe’s syndicated loan market has shrunk by almost half since 2007 as banks held back lending to meet new capital rules and as borrowers sought alternative sources of funding. With the global value of shares climbing to a record $65.6 trillion, companies are taking advantage of higher stock prices to fund mergers and acquisitions.

Holcim Ltd.’s $40 billion merger with Lafarge SA, the largest deal in Europe this year, was paid for entirely in stock. And while Bayer AG’s proposed purchase of Merck & Co.’s consumer care business is backed by $14.2 billion of syndicated loans, $12.2 billion of that is to be refinanced with bonds, according to banks arranging the debt.

Bond Financing

Borrowers are heading to the bond market because it offers cheaper pricing and looser restrictions, according to Ranbir Singh Lakhpuri, a London-based portfolio manager at Insight Investment Management Ltd., which manages the equivalent of $506 billion. Borrowing costs for junk-rated companies fell to a record 3.56 percent in Europe in May, while average yields for investment-grade debt bottomed at 1.47 percent last week, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch index data.

Billionaire Patrick Drahi’s Altice SA and Numericable Group SA raised more than $16 billion in the high-yield bond market in April to fund the acquisition of Vivendi SA’s SFR unit, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That allowed him to cut the amount of cash borrowed from banks to $6.4 billion from about $8 billion, Bloomberg data show.

Leveraged Loans

Loans to fund leveraged buyouts declined to $20 billion in the last quarter, down 15 percent from the same period in 2013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Issuance of junk-rated bonds jumped to $70 billion from $26 billion, Bloomberg data show.

The dearth of new loans has resulted in a “savage compression” in pricing as banks compete for deals, Peter Ellemann, the London-based head of European loan syndications at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., wrote in a report in April.

Interest margins for investment-grade borrowers narrowed to an average 0.78 percentage points more than benchmark rates this year, the least in seven years, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Margins on leveraged loans in euros fell to 4 percentage points from 4.53 percentage points a year earlier.

“No deals have failed this year in the loan market, which is helping drive pricing down,” said Sean Malone, the London-based head of Europe, Middle East and Africa loan syndications at Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. “Borrowers have access to almost limitless funds from all parts of the capital markets.”

‘Demand Problem’

Europe’s bankers are left recycling old loans, with about 80 percent obtained by investment-grade companies in the last three months being used to refinance existing debt, Bloomberg data show. Almost all were revolving credit facilities, where money repaid can be borrowed again. Because such deals often remain undrawn, they’re less lucrative for banks than term loans and M&A financing.

“A lot of deal flow and volume has been a reworking of existing deals rather than newer, event-driven activity that would be more exciting and remunerative for the market,” said Barclays’s Taylor.

To help revive the market, the European Central Bank last month introduced a 400 billion-euro liquidity plan that’s designed to offset capital regulations. It allows lenders to borrow cheaply from the ECB to encourage them to extend new loans to businesses.

The ECB’s actions will have a limited effect on the leveraged or corporate syndicated loan markets, according to Roland Boehm, the Frankfurt-based head of Commerzbank AG’s debt capital markets loans unit. “We don’t have a supply problem. Credit demand is the problem.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Stephen Morris in London at smorris39@bloomberg.net; Sally Bakewell in London at sbakewell1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Shelley Smith at ssmith118@bloomberg.net Jennifer Joan Lee, Michael Shanahan

[…]

Telkom CFO to Repay $555,000 Loan Awarded After ‘Lousy Process’

Telkom SA SOC Ltd. (TKG) said it asked suspended Chief Financial Officer Jacques Schindehutte to repay a 6 million rand ($555,000) loan used to buy shares because the transaction breached the terms of the Companies Act.

Telkom, Africa’s biggest fixed-line phone operator, lent Schindehutte the cash in late September so he could buy stock, Chief Executive Officer Sipho Maseko said on Nov. 18. Schindehutte would only be obliged to repay the zero-interest loan if he left the company, Pretoria-based Telkom said in a statement the same day. The CFO was suspended in October following the outcome of an investigation into unspecified allegations of misconduct, yet remains a Telkom employee.

The loan “was granted in a manner that was inconsistent with provisions of the Companies Act, making the transaction null and void,” Telkom said in an e-mailed statement today. “The board cannot and did not ratify the granting of the loan. Telkom therefore has an obligation to claim the loan back in order to rectify the situation.”

Schindehutte bought 243,700 Telkom shares for 5.96 million rand or 24.4523 rand each, the company said in an Oct. 2 statement. The stock is now trading at 33.30 rand, or 36 percent higher than what Schindehutte paid, amounting to a paper profit for the director of 2.16 million rand. The shares have risen almost 10 percent since the company said Jan. 10 it plans to fire 1,000 managers and reduce the workforce by about a third over five years.

Oversaw Payment

“The interest-free loan has nothing to do with my suspension as I followed the correct procedure to seek approval for the loan,” Schindehutte said in an interview today. “I’ve now been told that the company was unable to ratify the loan as they had indicated to the market and I’ve been called upon to repay the loan. I will do that forthwith.”

Telkom said that in his capacity as CFO Schindehutte was responsible for the provision of loans to directors and personally oversaw the payment to himself.

“Having now been advised that the loan was void, the CFO has a fiduciary duty to repay the loan to the company,” Telkom said in the statement. “We are confident that Mr Schindehutte will act in the best interests of the company and repay the loan.”

Maseko said in a December interview he would have preferred not to have probed Schindehutte’s alleged misconduct.

“If we were not listed no one would know about this, we would have managed it pretty quietly,” Maseko said. “It started off as a whistle-blowing, which the company then duly investigated. I, for one, wasn’t keen to investigate it.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Spillane in Johannesburg at cspillane3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net

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Church of England declares war on payday loans firm | The Raw Story

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Church of England declares war on payday loans firm

By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, July 25, 2013 6:59 EDT

Topics:

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Church of England leader Justin Welby has told a company offering short-term high-interest loans that the church wants to “compete” it out of existence by promoting not-for-profit credit unions.

Welby, who as Archbishop of Canterbury is spiritual leader of the world’s 85 million Anglicans.

He said in an interview published late on Wednesday that he had delivered the message to Errol Damelin, chief executive of the British payday lender Wonga.

“I’ve met the head of Wonga and we had a very good conversation,” the archbishop, a former oil executive, told Total Politics magazine.

“I said to him quite bluntly, ‘We’re not in the business of trying to legislate you out of existence, we’re trying to compete you out of existence’.

“He’s a businessman, he took that well.”

Wonga is one of Britain’s best-known providers of short-term, high-interest loans. It also operates in South Africa.

Its customers are typically charged an interest rate that, expressed in annual terms, equates to 5,853 percent.

The loans are usually for amounts well under £1,000 ($1,500, 1,200 euros) and are agreed for up to six weeks.

There is a growing campaign in Britain against so-called payday lenders, and the £2 billion industry is facing investigation by the Competition Commission after a trading watchdog found there were “deep-rooted” problems with how it operates.

Wonga insists it is a responsible lender and that it has been “instrumental” in helping to raise industry standards.

“The archbishop is clearly an exceptional individual and someone who understands the power of innovation,” said Damelin, the company’s chief executive and founder.

“There is mutual respect, some differing opinions and a meeting of minds on many big issues.

“On the competition point, we always welcome fresh approaches that give people a fuller set of alternatives to solve their financial challenges. I’m all for better consumer choice.”

Welby, who came into office in February, has launched a campaign to expand credit unions as an alternative to payday lending that he hopes will boost competition in the banking sector.

Members of credit unions pool their savings in order to provide each other with low-interest credit and other financial services. Crucially, they are not aimed at making a profit.

The British government announced in April that it was investing £38 million in credit unions to help them provide an alternative to payday lenders.

Welby launched a credit union for clergy and church staff last month.

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[…]

Up to $30bn in Dubai 2012 property deals in cash

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As much as US$30bn in cash was used to purchase Dubai property last year, much of it from overseas buyers looking for a safe haven, according to an Arabian Business investigation.

Contrary to most Western countries, about 70 percent of property transactions in Dubai are fully paid in cash, while the rest are covered by mortgages.

It was as high as 80 percent 12 months ago, according to people in the industry.

Sam Wani, general manager of mortgage adviser Independent Finance, said the level of cash payments in Dubai real estate was extraordinary compared to the rest of the world.

“It’s not normal,” he said. “Global cash transactions are in the realms of 20 and 30 [percent] at the most.”

The point has been used in recent weeks by supporters of the UAE Central Bank’s plan to limit the loan-to-value ratio of mortgages to as little as 50 percent in a bid to avoid another property boom after the real estate crash of 2008-2009.

Emirates Banks Association chairman Abdul Aziz Al-Ghurair said on Sunday the low level of mortgage-related property transactions meant the proposed changes would not impact on property prices and would protect borrowers.

“People have speculated that it will be negative to real estate, [but] 70 percent of the real estate sales [are] on a cash basis so it’s going to impact 30 percent [of the market],” he said.

About US$42bn worth of property was sold in the emirate last year, according to Dubai Land Department, meaning up to US$30bn in cash flowed between property owners, including multiple sales of the same property during the year.

The majority of cash-buyers were from India, Iran, Egypt, Syria, other GCC countries, North Africa and Russia, Wani said.

They wanted to avoid tax and their countries’ unstable real estate markets, but Wani said improved regulations following the global financial crisis had limited money laundering.

“They want to park their cash in a region which is stable and yields in those countries are not as good as the yields they get here,” Wani said.

“They are mostly people in neighbouring countries who are sitting on large amounts of cash who are looking for investment opportunities where they can get high yield and safety of principle.

“Rental yields here are increasing 7-8 percent across the board so it makes perfect sense for cash-rich people to park their cash in the UAE.”

Article continued on next page…

[…]

Marikana miners in debt sinkhole

It is the last Friday of the month and the small town of Marikana has begun to shake off the shock of recent events. Locals wait patiently in long lines extending from First National Bank and Standard Bank ATMs and the many cash-loan outlets in town service a steady stream of customers.

But it is not business as usual today. Many of the clients working at Lonmin’s platinum mine have not honoured their loan repayments following a continuing wildcat strike that cost at least 44 lives.

Miners say most Lonmin workers take full advantage of the promises of “quick and easy” cash on offer. Cash-loan outlets the Mail & Guardian visited said their clients, most of whom work for the mine, take out an average unsecured loan of R1 000 to R1 500 with 30 days to repay.

A leading player in this market is Ubank, which has the third-largest market share after African Bank and Capitec. The National Union of Mineworkers and the Chamber of Mines own Ubank (see “Mining customer base ensures Ubank’s healthy bottom line”).

The pool of workers, many of whom have moved into the area from as far afield as the Eastern Cape, has created a fertile breeding ground for microlenders and banks willing to offer unsecured amounts to individuals. There are at least a dozen operators, big and small, offering micro loans in Marikana.

Miners said they could access loans of up to 50% of the value of their net pay. The net pay for a rock drill operator after deductions is between R4500 and R7000.

Increase in unsecured lending
Interest rates of 5% a month are charged, excluding a service charge of R50 a month and an initiation fee of a maximum of 15% on the value of the loan. Collection fees for defaulters also apply. These are the maximum rates of interest and fees the National Credit Act allows.

In accordance with the national credit regulations, a maximum of R1 257.50 in interest and fees can be charged on a short-term loan of R1 000 – that is more than 25% a month, or 300% if annualised.

Rajeen Devpruth, manager of statistics at the regulator, said short-term loans are intended to be once-off transactions and therefore not calculated on an annualised basis.

Miners told the M&G they settle outstanding amounts at the end of the year using their annual bonuses. Two miners said the high cost of finance did not worry them. One said he could afford it. Both said their issue was with Lonmin – they wanted a minimum wage of R12 500 a month.

During a meeting with the banking industry last week, Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan noted the rapid increase in unsecured lending, especially to low-income households.

A pay slip or proof of employment is all that is required to secure a loan. “It’s easy to get a cash loan if you work on the mines. They just check your pay slip from the previous month,” one rock drill operator said, squatting under a tree in an attempt to avoid the searing midday sun.

“I don’t think people go for cash loans because they are broke. It’s the way they advertise themselves. It makes it seem so easy,” another Lonmin employee said.

Don van Asperen, general manager for Tshelete, which owns three cash-loan stores in Marikana, says mine workers make up 90% of its ­clientele. These clients will often repay their debt and take out another loan immediately, or one to two weeks later.

“Some take two or three loans out each month. It’s a sad, vicious cycle,” Van Asperen admits. “But that’s just the culture around the mines.”

Arrangements
African Bank is located inside the Marikana Ellerines store. At 3.30pm on a Friday afternoon, several couples are waiting for credit approval.

The rock drill operator told the M&G he takes home about R4 800 each month but his car repayments, owed to African Bank, exceed R2 000.

Johan Theron, head of personnel at the nearby Impala platinum mine, told the M&G its workers are also heavily indebted. He said pay slips featured two main deductions: garnishing orders and deductions for amounts owed to shops in the area.

What happens when the debtors do not pay?

“If you don’t pay for one month, your next salary goes here,” the rock drill operator said, pointing at a cash-loan shop a few metres away. The debtor must visit the cash-loan store to collect the difference, if there is any.

Some lenders have arrangements with mines to deduct repayments from pay slips, but Van Asperen said Tshelete did not have much of a relationship with the mine. When clients defaulted on repayments, the cash loan company had to go through formal court procedures to obtain a garnishing order. It was not too prevalent, Van Asperen said. About 5% of the customer base have garnishing orders against them.

Hennie Ferreira, chief executive of Micro Finance South Africa, a representative body of registered and legal microfinance credit providers, said microfinancing in South Africa typically referred to a lender that is not a bank, but increasingly banks are entering into this arena.

Money to survive
“They are pushing unsecured and short-term loans … since the recession; other products are not giving them what they want.”

Devpruth said unsecured personal loans have tripled in rand value over the past five years. “The outstanding value of the gross debtors for unsecured credit in 2007 was R41-billion and for the period ended March 2012 was R121-billion,” Devpruth said.

“Over these periods the loan sizes have increased to R230 000 and loan terms of 84 months.” Consumers who earned less than R7 500 a month received 31% of unsecured loans based on the rand values of credit granted for the period ended March 2012.

In light of the continued strike, Ferreria said the miners, many of whom have not earned money since August 10 when the protest began, will soon do anything to get money to survive.

“First they will go to the employer, then they will go to the banks, which won’t help them. Then they will go to the registered credit providers who probably won’t be able to help [new customers] either.”

The next and final stop will be to borrow from informal and unregulated lenders and workers may find themselves in a debt spiral that is virtually impossible to get out of.


Mining customer base ensures Ubank’s healthy bottom line

One of the biggest players in the microfinance market is the Chamber of Mines and the National Union of Mineworkers’ Ubank.

The bank has 500 000 customers and is the third-largest player in this sector after African Bank and Capitec.

Formerly known as Teba Bank, Ubank is owned by a trust managed by the NUM and the chamber. It has entrenched itself in gold and platinum mining communities.

The NUM has been criticised for being out of touch with the needs of the workforce. Speaking at Lonmin’s Marikana mine a few days after the massacre, expelled ANC Youth League president Julius Malema said the workers should not associate with those who have sold them out and that the NUM had no intention to defend the workers.

Sixty percent of Ubank’s customers work in the mining industry and most of its branch network services the gold and platinum mining areas and the rural areas their customers call home.

Ubank said it was a unique banking institution driven by a social consciousness that underpinned all it does. “Responsible lending is paramount to Ubank because many of the consumers are overindebted,” it said in a statement to the M&G.

For short-term loans, the average amount lent over a year to a Ubank customer is R1 870 and the average unsecured loan amount over a 12-month period is R13 800, taken over a loan period of between 12 and 36 months.

Currently, “our impairment ratio is well managed within our risk appetite,” Ubank said.

It reported profits of R9.3-million for the six months ended August 2011 with assets of R3.5-billion.

Ubank made the news last year when its chief executive and chief financial officer stepped down following fraud charges laid against a senior employee who was dismissed after an internal investigation found she had allegedly inflated invoices. At the time, NUM general secretary Frans Baleni had said the amount exceeded R6-million. “This matter is being followed up with criminal charges,” Ubank told the M&G.

The bank has since undertaken a general cross-organisational compliance review of the internal control environment and certain processes and procedures have been refined.

“Ubank has always been a savings-led bank and this will continue because we focus on providing holistic banking services to our market. We are proud of our rich history, proven sustainability and are very optimistic about our future growth.”

The National Credit Act defines short-term credit transactions as those in which the deferred amount does not exceed R8000 and the whole amount is repayable within a period not exceeding six months.

Unsecured credit transactions are when the debt is not supported by a pledge or other right in property or suretyship, or any form of personal security other than credit insurance.

[…]

Heritage Oil sells Iraqi asset in cash, loan deal worth a combined US$450M

By The Canadian Press

LONDON, England – Heritage Oil Corp. (TSX:HOC.TONews) says it has raised combined proceeds of US$450 million through the sale of an asset in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

The deal involved the sale by Heritage and its wholly owned subsidiary, Heritage Energy Middle East Ltd., of the company’s 26 per cent interest in a production sharing contract related to the Miran Block in Iraq to Genel Energy Plc.

Terms included cash of US$156 million and a US$294-million exchangeable loan provided by Genel, which Heritage has fully drawn down, the company said in a release Wednesday.

Heritage is an independent oil and gas exploration and production company with assets in Africa, the Middle East and Russia.

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Payday & Micro Loans Grow in Popularity Due to Economy

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Payday and Micro-Loans Grow in Popularity in the US

Posted in August 15, 2012 ¬ 7:22 pmh.jennComments Off

According to a recent report by the Associated Press, what was once a normal practice within Africa, South Asia, and Central America is not becoming increasingly popular in the United States. Small businesses are increasingly turning to microloans between $500 to $10,000 for funding in both times of difficulty and to aid organizational growth. Such loans are being provided by micro-loan specialists and non-profits. Another form of loan that is utilized for the purpose of personal expenses is that of the payday loan.

This allows for $300 plus dollars to be borrowed for a fee. A direct debit is then set up to pull the amount of the loan out of the loan recipient’s bank account. According to Premal Shaw of Kiva, a nonprofit provider of microloans, “You know this “Buy Local” movement? There’s starting to be this ‘Lend Local’ movement.” Such a movement is a result of banks becoming more and more selective as to their customers. Both loan forms are considered short-term and are normally paid back quickly. For instance, the average microloan is paid back within six months and a payday loan is paid back within one to two weeks.

Experts agree that the key to benefiting from short-term loans and cash advances is to find a reputable and transparent lender. This effort can be accomplished via online searches. For instance, to gain a payday loan Huntington Beach, all one would have to do is perform a Google search and seek out customer reviews.

With the election nearing as November approaches, there is no telling where the economy is headed in the short-term. It has been rumored by leading economists that the Fed will work to keep things stable until the election commences. Some have even gone as far to say that Obama is the Fed’s official pick, thus it will work extra hard to keep things ultra-stable. As the year progresses, it is best policy to live simply and seek to keep debts as low as possible. If or any reason a small loan is needed, a payday loan may just do the trick for many individuals and micro loans a perfect option for small businesses.

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