Problems with the payday lending crackdown

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The Office of Fair Trading decided to refer payday lenders for a full investigation.
The Office of Fair Trading decided to refer payday lenders for a full investigation. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

We've identified a few problems with the new payday loans crackdown.

There are now eight million new payday loans every year, the market has boomed to above £2 billion.

Officials say it is causing misery and hardship …and what is their solution? One group of officials today handed the problem to another - the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to the Competition Commission.

What makes this worse is that the department that will now take on the problem (the Competition Commission) will not exist in ten months time.

As it usually takes 18 months to do one of these investigations, it is very doubtful they will be around to do anything about their own findings.

ITV News research shows that many of the worst practices in this industry are from brokers - firms who promise fast loans emphasising speed rather than affordability.

They are rife all over the internet. If you do an online search for "payday loan" you are highly likely to end up on the site of a broker.

Yet, the OFT has failed to include brokers in its referral of the industry to the Competition Commission.

When I challenged the head of the OFT on this, he said that brokers are "a separate market in economic terms" …but for most customers they are far from separate.

So reforming the firms that offer such quick loans is proving to be a very slow process. For many, patience has already run out.