No matter how bad the times are there is always someone ready to make a fast buck out of those in trouble. Are there are fewer people in more trouble than those in debt, bereft of savings, on the minimum wage (or worse) and struggling to feed and clothe their families. And very often these people are denied a credit lifeline because they have County Court Judgements (CC Js) against them. So step forward Vanquis Bank Limited to make these unfortunate people the offer of a credit card to help them through these hard times. An act of altruism and generosity on the part of these generous bankers – a single-handed gesture to restore our faith in the banking community? Don’t make me laugh! Loan sharks more like it. For the rate of interest charged on the credit given is a whopping 39.9% – yes that’s right at a time when interest rates are near historic lows the good folks at Vanquis Bank will charge you every month 2.84% – fairly close to the annual rate at which they can today borrow to finance this enterprise.Does all of this ring a tiny bell? Remember sub-prime loans, the nasty bit of financial skulduggery that launched our financial turmoil in the first place? Remember what these sub-prime loans were? Greedy banks and mortgage lenders leant money to people with limited capability to repay when times got tough. True these sub-prime loans were at a premium interest rate, but they became valueless when there was default.

Those of us who do use our credit cards for a bit of cash flow  smoothing at times accept that although the interest rates from most major cards are fairly high at around 15% they are not too penal if you manage things sensibly. Compare that with the near 40% charged by Vanquis – a charge that is, of course, only possible because they choose only to lend to those who probably can’t get credit anywhere else. The most vulnerable people in society. Those who need our help not to be exploited. Vanquis’s credit card is perfectly legal of course – but who would think that it should be?

Don’t you just love bankers?

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