February 19, 2019 1:28 pm

Hamilton’s payday lenders decline from 30 to 28, a year after city council’s licensing crackdown

The number of payday loan stores has dropped from 30 to 28, in the year since Hamilton city council took aim at their numbers by approving a business licensing bylaw.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Doug Ives
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There’s been a small reduction in the number of payday loan businesses in Hamilton.

A report presented to the city’s planning committee on Tuesday morning shows 28 outlets were licensed on Jan. 1, 2019, compared with 30 on Jan. 1, 2018.

READ MORE: Hamilton looks to cap number of payday loan outlets

The payday loan stores that closed were on Locke Street and King Street East.

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A licensing bylaw was approved by Hamilton city council last February which will eventually limit the number of payday loan stores to 15, or one per ward.

READ MORE: Hamilton politicians finalize payday loan crackdown

Ward 4 Coun. Sam Merulla has said that the idea is to reduce access to what he terms a “predatory industry” that preys on vulnerable residents who have nowhere else to turn during a financial crisis and fall further into debt because of the high-interest rates and fees.

The number of outlets is expected to continue dropping over time as licences expire and are not renewed.

READ MORE: Toronto latest Canadian city to crackdown on payday loan outlets

Payday loan stores in Hamilton are generally concentrated downtown, in the east end and along a section of Upper James Street.

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