The first thing that happened when all this negative attention came about is that banks got out of anything even similar to payday loans. No point in tarnishing their brand for a tiny unattractive business. The guys who stayed in business were the scummiest, the ones who didn't care about brand and didn't care about their business. It became like running a brothel, legal but unsavory. The industry boomed as more legitimate businesses ceded market share to the shadier players.Realistically, there are two facts that can't be wished away. High risk, low value loans are expensive to provide. People want/need payday loans and they will get them from whoever is giving them. It can't be done at non "predatory" APRs and it can't be shut down. If they had outright outlawed payday loans, then shady businesses would have given way to outright criminals, the leg breaking loanshark cliche.In comes micro-finance. Nobel peace prize winning, poverty alleviating, enlightened, woman emancipating microfinance. These ran with a lot of support. They attracted great people at far under-market salaries. Motivated employees with a mission and received outright donations from the public. Major banks created microfinance programs as a part of their corporate responsibility, goodwill project.These amount to a real and substantial summary. Annualized interest rates are still very high. Lower than payday loans and much lower than village lenders and loan sharks they displace but higher than the worst credit card.Two ends of the spectrum. One on the border region of legality below the decent folk morality threshold. The other, literally a charitable activity.Interesting to think about. Make something illegal and it runs as a criminal enterprise. Treat it as a predatory pariah and it behaves like a predatory pariah. Treat it as a charitable act, and it behaves that way. In no case does it go away.


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