With Alternative Lenders, Flexibility and Speed Come at a Cost

Wall Street Journal
Monday, August 25, 2014

Alternative lenders that can turn around a deal within a couple of days or offer loans that last just a few months could disrupt lending – but critics warn their flexibility and speed come at a price. Annual percentage rates on the loans can soar above 100 percent, and there can be steep fees and penalties for things like prepayment. Some lenders have even been accused of hiding APRs from borrowers. "125 percent APR for a loan is just not OK in my book," says Mark Pinsky, president and chief executive of Opportunity Finance Network, a CDFI advocacy organization. But alternative lenders counter that APR is not the best way to judge the short-term loans.