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This Louisville startup wants to hit payday lenders where they live

David Serchuk
Reporter
Louisville Business First
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LOUISVILLE–Chris Blakely is a man on a mission. Hes dedicating his life and career to help people find an alternative to high-interest loans.

Blakely is the founder and CEO of Credit Fair-E, a Louisville startup dedicated to providing small, comparatively affordable loans to what he calls the large and growing population that has been left behind by traditional financial institutions.

Blakelys goal is to provide a better credit alternative to low and middle income families that either have few or no other credit options available to them, or lack emergency savings. The exact people that might otherwise use a payday loan service.

He said the problem with payday lenders and the like is that they can charge a typical annual percentage rate of interest in the neighborhood of 360 percent.

These kinds of fees and high interest rates add up to a huge windfall for financial firms. According to data from the The Center for Financial Services Innovation in 2014 the fees and interest from refund anticipation loans, payday loans, pawn loans and bank overdraft fees added up to $38 billion. In that same year the fees and interest from secured credit cards, auto title loans and subprime credit cards added up to $29.3 billion.

Given the above numbers Blakely saw an unmet need for comparatively low-interest small loans, or microloans.

Credit Fair-E is pretty new to the game. Blakely said that although the business has existed since early 2015 it just received its license to be a financial lender from the Kentucky Department of Financial Institutions in mid-December. But he made his first loan a week later, and has made six more since.

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