Newspaper archive reveals short-term loans were prevalent 100 years ago
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 12/31/2012 -- In a new set of advertisements from the British Newspaper Archive's collection, it was shown that loan-sharks were profiting off their offerings of cash advances to Edwardian Britons in the lead-up to the Christmas season. They did so with tempting offers and adverts that showed on the front pages of the newspapers.
Researchers looked through six million newspaper pages from BritishNewspaperArchive.co.uk, and found that on December 20 over one-hundred years ago, private lenders and companies were offering £5 (£460 in current value) to £5,000 (£463,000 current value) to “all trustworthy persons”, in a slue of advertisements within newspapers.
A particular company enticed potential customers with the promise of “a departure from loan office routine and humbug” and an assurance that all they need to issue a loan is “your own written promise to pay.”
Others offered “reduced rates on all loans between now and Christmas” and terms that are “impossible to improve upon.” One man, claiming to be “a boon to would-be borrowers,” offering unsecured loans varying from £20 to £1,000, which is nearly £100,000 with today's value.
The lenders charged no upfront fee and offered “low interest and easy repayments”. The loans were sold as lifelines to families that were struggling for presents, food, or other necessities for the holiday season at the start of the previous century.
British Newspaper Archive spokesperson, Debra Chatfield, stated that “So many people at the moment are struggling under financial pressure, and with Christmas around the corner, families are panicking about how they are going to pay for Christmas.”
“The same was true in Edwardian Britain,” she added. Debra continued by stating, “We can see that front pages and entire newspaper columns were dominated by advertisements for quick cash to help broke Edwardians to pay for Christmas and it seems that turning to payday loan companies for an extra bit of help is not just a 21st century phenomenon.”
Though a hundred years ago, the adverts seem similar to today's lending practices, as 30,000 Britons used short-term payday loans in 2012 alone.
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