Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Thanks, But no Thanks

© Joe ÓNéill 2009
One of Dollar Financial's New Stores on Belfast's Royal Avenue

As Northern Ireland, like the rest of the world, suffers the effects of the recession, every job lost is a personal tragedy, and every new job and investment prospect must be viewed as a small victory in the fight against the lower living standards that increasing unemployment brings.

With few exceptions to the rule, there are not many businesses that can claim to be recession-proof. Repossession companies, bailiffs, auctioneers, moneylenders, legal, and illegal, all come to mind.

One company at the top of this food chain has just acquired four locations in Northern Ireland this week. While this company sees opportunity here for expansion, the sad fact is that we could well do without their business.

Dollar Financial, a NASDAQ listed U.S. company (DLLR), has just acquired Payday Loan Stores, with three locations in Belfast, and one in Lisburn. The stores main business focus is, check cashing, payday loans, and pawn broking services.

Chairman and CEO of Dollar Financial Jeff Weiss, said, “The acquisition of these stores provides an opportunity to further expand and strengthen our store footprint in Belfast.

DLLR, which describes itself as international financial, Services Company serving under-banked consumers, paid a reported £550,000 to Payday Loan for the business. The company founded in 1979, has around 1,264 stores in the U.S., Canada, U.K., and the south of Ireland.

This company no doubt fill a niche in the market place, and that is what business is about. However, forgive me if I do not do cartwheels over their expansion plans in Ireland.
In this country we have a great tradition of volunteerism and dedication which serves the so-called ’under-banked consumer’, it is called, the Credit Union. That is the exploitation of a niche market that I root for.

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