Demonstrators gather in Dartmouth to protest payday loans

A small crowd of people braved the rain Thursday morning as they gathered outside the Cash Money store in Dartmouth to protest payday loans.

The protest on Wyse Road was part of a larger event held across the country, in which the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and the Association of Community Organizations for Reforms Now took to the streets in several different cities.

The groups say payday lenders may charge anywhere from $17 to $25, depending on the province, for every $100 borrowed over a two-week period – an interest rate of more than 400 per cent annually.

“Former governments have made these places legal to do business,” says Tony Rogers of CUPW Atlantic. “They have prohibitive interest rates and they prey mostly on the disenfranchised and the poorer people in society.”

The protesters say they would like to see an alternative system called postal banking implemented, which would allow citizens to do their banking through a post office where they would be offered more reasonable interest rates.

Close to 2 million Canadians use payday lenders each year and the industry is worth billions.