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New rules for payday lenders to strengthen and enhance consumer protection

Minister Cathy Rogers
Minister Cathy Rogers

MONCTON, N.B. – The provincial government is putting new rules in place for payday lenders that will ensure better protection for the consumer.

“Our government is committed to improving the lives of New Brunswick families,” said Finance Minister Cathy Rogers. “By implementing these new rules around payday loans, we are helping to ensure that they are not taken advantage of at a time when they need financial support the most. We know that people who take out a payday loan often do not have a choice; it is a last resort. What we are announcing today, however, will mean better security and protection for those consumers.”

The new rules for payday lenders will:

– require anyone offering, arranging or providing a payday loan in New Brunswick to obtain a licence from the Financial and Consumer Services Commission.

– establish requirements for licensees and allow the commission to take action on unlicensed activity and those not in compliance with the legislation.

– help consumers by requiring payday lenders to provide disclosure on the cost of borrowing, setting maximum rates and fees that can be charged, as well as providing consumers with cancellation rights.

“We commend the government for completing the necessary steps to regulate the payday loan industry,” said Randy Hatfield, executive director of the Saint John Human Development Council. “Payday loans are the most expensive consumer loan on the market. These new rules will provide important protection to consumers in the province. We look forward to providing input on further regulations dealing with repeat borrowing and the industry’s reporting requirements.”

The regulatory structures being introduced are similar to changes implemented across the country for the payday lender industry. After consulting with stakeholders and industry, the provincial government has ensured that the rates being charged to consumers are reasonable while at the same time providing for the viability of the industry.

“We are encouraged to see the move towards consumer protection in the province of New Brunswick,” said John Eisner, president of Credit Counselling Services of Atlantic Canada. “We see the impact on consumers every day, trying to break the payday loan cycle. Limiting the cost, fees, penalties and the amount borrowed is a step in the right direction and we will continue to provide support and insight so that consumers are protected.”

The Financial and Consumer Services Commission is responsible for the enforcement of the new rules, which will be in place in January 2018.

“We have the mandate to protect consumers through a combination of regulation and education,” said Rick Hancox, the commission’s chief executive officer. “Some consumers experiencing financial hardship look to access short-term credit and may be susceptible to predatory lending practices. We want to ensure that consumers are better informed about the true cost of using these services and know to use the services of a licensed payday lender.”

The commission has information on its website to help industry prepare for the new rules. It also has information to help consumers understand what is involved in choosing to borrow from a payday lender and make informed credit decisions. The commission will also publish an online registry of licensed lenders.

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