Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Banks, image, and payday loans

I'm not an expert on architecture, but even I realize that until recently, the architecture employed in bank buildings was significant. Banks need to evoke an image of permanence and trust, so many bank buildings were designed with a very solid appearance. Some even have massive columns.

Of course, this has changed now that you can find banks in many grocery stores, but banks clearly maintain their solid image in other ways - especially after the recent financial crises. Banks want to assure their customers that they are sound, conservative (in a financial sense) institutions. They don't throw your money into Enron. They don't offer payday loans like the corner store down the street. They don't...

Uh...hold on a minute. From the Riverside (California) Press-Enterprise:

They're marketed under a different name, but a handful of major banks already let customers borrow against their paychecks for a fee. And there are signs the option may soon become more widely available.

Banks say their loans are intended for emergencies and they are quick to distance themselves from the payday lending industry. But consumer advocates say these direct deposit loans -- as banks prefer to call them -- bear the same predatory trademarks as the payday loans commonly found in low-income neighborhoods.

More here.
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