More payday loan outlets, fewer bank branches in lower Hamilton

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By Natalie Paddon

There are 32 per cent more payday loan businesses in Hamilton’s lower city than there were 10 years ago.

The number of bank branches in that area has dropped 19 per cent over that same time, according to a new report from the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton.

Social planner Sara Mayo and placement student Grace Kennedy from the SPRC presented the information to a community forum of about 50 people on payday loans at Tim Hortons Field Monday evening.

“The decline of banks and the growth of payday loans are not random or in a vacuum,” said Mayo.

She pointed to the deregulation of banks in the 1980s and a lack of legislation around payday loans as the presence of these businesses increased in the late 1990s and early 2000s as contributing factors.

According to the report, there were no payday loan outlets in Hamilton in 1995. By 2015, there were 25.

The lower city had 38 bank branches just over 20 years ago — a number which has since shrunk to 25.

The SPRC compiled this data from past telephone directory listings and current online information. These numbers take into account Canada’s six largest banks and do not include credit unions, the report says.

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Article and image source: The Hamilton Spectator

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