Pawn stores cashing in

BANGALORE (Reuters) – Bad credit? Require cash now? Simply grab that electric electric guitar into the part and head for the pawn store. Cash-strapped Д±ndividuals are swapping jewelry, music systems and electronic devices for money like no time before.

“The pawn deal is a simple, no-questions-asked secured loan that’s working well for people,” Sterne Agee analyst Henry Coffey stated.

U.S. payday lenders, whom make little, short-term loans from the borrower’s next paycheck, are investing more inside their pawn operations as stricter laws and unemployment that is rising their main company less appealing.

Loan providers like Ezcorp Inc, First Cash Financial Services Inc and money America Global Inc have observed reduced profits in the payday front side but strong results from their pawn operations.

Weighed against payday advances that carry sky-high interest levels — often much more than 300 per cent — pawn loans are effortless from the pocket and don’t need to be paid back in the event that debtor chooses to forfeit the security.

Businesses are pouring money and resources that are managerial their pawn items, that are growing for a price maybe not noticed in days gone by 10 years, Coffey stated.

A lot of the change in focus was spurred by regulators who will be wanting to control the attention prices charged by payday lenders.

The Ohio Legislature passed a bill this past year to efficiently cap the interest price on payday advances at 28 %, a blow to payday financing facilities into the state.

Fort Worth, Texas-based money America closed 42 shops in Ohio, as well as on Thursday it reported a fall in fourth-quarter revenue and lowered its 2009 profits perspective.

Several other states are going to cap rates of interest at 36 per cent.

“I think there’s going become lots of sound regarding that,” said Stephens Inc analyst David Burtzlaff.

“The 36 per cent interest caps have now been mentioned a whole lot, and you also can’t run at that price. Simple math won’t allow it, given the loss prices these ongoing organizations encounter regarding the item.”

Analysts additionally anticipate the lending that is payday to manage opposition from U.S. President Barack Obama, whom needed caps on interest levels and improved disclosure during their campaign

“It poses more of a risk than earlier in the day, but because of the environment we don’t know whether he (Obama) will need away the consumer that is last choice at this time,” Burtzlaff stated.

To conquer profits shortfalls regarding the payday front side, the firms have looked to expanding their pawn operations.

First money said it expects 75 per cent to 80 per cent of its profits in ’09 in the future from pawn operations, among others are not far behind.


Fueled by brand new development leads, U.S. pawn lending organizations are now actually aggressively expanding south associated with the edge where need remains high. Analysts think Mexico could possibly be a growth that is significant when it comes to loan providers in the years ahead.

“Culturally the pawn item has been around Mexico for a rather very long time and it’s well accepted,” Burtzlaff stated. “All of the organizations have large amount of space for shop expansions.”

First Cash said it expects growth that is significant client traffic and deal volumes in Mexico in ’09.

First Cash expects to start 55 to 60 brand brand new shops in Mexico and a restricted quantity of brand new pawn shops in the usa this season, while Ezcorp intends to start 30 to 35 pawn stores in Mexico.

Money America stated in September it planned to get an 80 % ownership stake in 100 pawnshops in Mexico for around $90 million.

But Mexico is perhaps not going be an open field when it comes to U.S. organizations, and regional pawn store operators may provide tough competition.

Development in Mexico continues to be in a fairly early stage, therefore the company there was dominated by small independents in addition to one big quasi-government-owned pawn store string Monte de Piedad, Sterne Agee analyst Coffey said.

A strengthening dollar against the Mexican peso and volatility in silver rates may also produce headwinds when it comes to U.S. pawn operators.

Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee in Bangalore, Editing by Mike Miller, Himani Sarkar

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