The Most Hideous Financial Image Ever

in Have not, Lottery Tickets, Payday Loans

I opened my Ottawa Citizen a few years ago and I saw this picture and I was hit by a combination of revulsion, anger, and lurid curiosity.

Revulsion and Anger

Why am I repulsed? You haven’t really read much of my posts, but I think the Cheque Cashing and Pay Day Loan industry is the worst financial service out there, and shouldn’t just be heavily regulated (which it is not) it should be shut down. Anger because the surcharges and interest rates taken by these modern-day Loan Sharks is obscene even at the Loan Shark level.

Lurid Curiosity

This is the most amazing entrepreneurial set up I can see. Whoever runs this particular business has nailed their clientage exactly and are pandering to their every whim and need.

  • Cheques cashed at a fee
  • Lottery tickets sold (and given away as incentives to good customers)
  • Cigarettes sold
  • Foreign Exchange
  • Money Transfers
  • Income Tax “Refunds Now!”
  • Payday Loans

What other services could they offer?

Modern Day Loan Sharks
Modern Day Loan Sharks (from the Ottawa Citizen)

It’s staggering that the government allows this kind of “financial pornography” to go on. I must admit I didn’t think there was places like this around my house, but I noticed a  “Modern Day Money Lender” has opened in my neighbourhood, why? I have no idea.

My guess is over the next year or two, this may be one of the growth industries along with repossession and bill collection, and that is a very sad statement about life in general.


  • Financial Samurai March 29, 2011, 8:24 PM

    Pretty crafty! Do we blame the marketer, or the dumbo who falls for this?

  • Vacatures Online December 25, 2010, 7:24 AM

    I totally agree that the payday loan business must be stopped. There are so many people in financial problems these days and these financial services keep getting them deeper in the problems.

  • Michelle December 27, 2009, 10:32 AM

    Well, the credit card industry has moved into the traditional loan shark space, so these guys had to go even farther out.

    Neil, I don’t think their terms are all that straighforward, do they advertise that their yearly rates are in excess of 12,000%? Don’t think so.

    They are parasites.

  • Neil December 26, 2009, 8:05 PM

    It has always struck me that foreign exchange doesn’t quite fit with the rest. Most people in Canada are sending money home, not exchanging it. And foreign currency is usually something that the better off deal with (or at least those with the financial wherewithal to save up for a plane ticket).

    I find that I don’t get overly offended at these kinds of places. There’s demand. Their terms are pretty straightforward. And unlike the loan shark, they won’t break your legs. So, while I’d like to live in a world where everyone is knowledgeable enough to not use these services, I prefer the storefront business to the back alley business. More regulation wouldn’t hurt, though.

  • Gene February 9, 2009, 3:44 PM

    You must admit, all that neon does add a touch of class to the whole operation. 😉

    Sort of reminiscent of the neon “GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS” you might have seen on a seedy strip club, so maybe your “financial pornography” phrase is apt

  • FOREX trading strategy February 9, 2009, 6:46 AM

    LOL 🙂 “financial pornography” term expresses it’s true essence.


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