Fredericton — Everyone knows that call centres — more and more call centres every day, in every city — are the most obvious solution to New Brunswick’s mounting debt and our high unemployment rate. But what only visionary Crown corporation Opportunities New Brunswick seems to realize is that payday loans are the real future of this province.
Now, ONB, in partnership with the Liberal government, is announcing a plan to inject funding into opening a payday loan store on every street corner.
“Yes, normally we hand out gigantic payroll rebates to whatever new call centre is opening — even if it’s Sears,” said ONB spokesperson Matt Randall, while cutting the ribbon on a brand-new Cash Money store on Fredericton’s north side.
“But we noticed that even with call centres — which themselves are a pretty short-term fix for a huge unemployment problem — new hires were taking up to two weeks to get paid. Studies show that people would rather have cash in their hand right now rather than wait till later, consequences be damned.”
So, what is a payday loan? In short, it’s an easily accessible loan usually given out with no credit check required, but at an extremely high interest rate. The interest rates are so inflated, in fact, that customers could be sacrificing a quarter of their pay just to have the money a few days earlier. The payday loan store makes huge profits from these interest rates.
Local mother Rita Yeomans, 47, works at the Accenture call centre on Prospect Street, a job she calls “barely tolerable.”
“It puts food on the table, but it doesn’t always cover heat, lights, car repairs, school supplies — you know, the necessities,” she said, waiting to enter the new Cash Money store with her measly $600 cheque. “I’d rather make $400 and be able to have it now — my kid needs to see the dentist and he can’t wait till Friday.”
Randall eagerly ushered her in. “See? Our first customer!”
ONB and the government hope their funding these cash stores will put New Brunswick on the entrepreneurial map.
“We’re pioneering this thing! Really, I think my cash-strapped constituents will thank us for helping them survive to see their next payday,” explained Premier Brian Gallant, who has never worked in a call centre or had to resort to using a payday loan store.
“ONB exists to invest in local businesses — legitimate or otherwise — as long as these businesses give off the impression of success. And yeah, hopefully this’ll help everyone forget about the whole Sears call centre thing.”