When you’re in a bad financial situation and need to borrow money, taking any loan is tempting. However, the loan provider you choose can make a significant impact in terms of cost, risk, and general well-being. There are two distinct lending worlds: the controlled system of licensed lenders, such as banks and credit unions, and the unlawful, predatory environment of loan sharks. 

While both offer a mechanism to obtain cash, loan sharks operate outside the law and engage in aggressive and misleading practices. Licensed lenders, on the other hand, are monitored by government officials and must adhere to a strict set of standards aimed at protecting borrowers. These measures, which include interest rate restrictions and debt collection procedures, are intended to ensure fair and transparent lending.

When considering your borrowing alternatives, it is vital to understand the fundamental differences between these two types of lenders. Using a certified lender can give you a safe means to obtain short-term financial relief, whereas a loan shark can quickly trap you in a cycle of uncontrollable debt and abuse.

In this blog, we will look at the five most significant differences between loan sharks and licensed lenders. 

Loan Sharks vs. Licensed Lenders Definition

Here are the differences of Loan Sharks and Licensed based on their definition:

Loan Shark Definition

Key traits of loan sharks:

  • Charge excessive yearly interest rates of 100% or more.
  • Lend money without a legal contract or documents.
  • Use extortion, force, and violence to recover debt.
  • Prey on desperate borrowers without regard to their ability to repay. 

Licensed Lender Definition

Key traits of licensed lenders:

  • Obtain official lending licenses and bank charters.
  • Charge yearly interest rates lower than the legal maximums established by usury laws.
  • Use legitimate debt collection procedures that are governed by fair lending legislation.
  • Assess borrowers based on their income, assets, and credit history.

Loan sharks operate in the illegal underworld of predatory lending, whereas licensed lenders are legitimate businesses monitored by regulatory organizations to ensure safe and fair lending practices for clients.

5 Key Differences of Loan Sharks vs. Licensed Lenders

When you’re short on funds, taking out a loan can help you cover your expenses. However, not all lending options are equal. Loan sharks act unlawfully and put you at risk, whereas licensed lenders respect the law and offer vital consumer protections. Here are five important differences to understand: 

1. Legal Status

The most significant comparison is that loan sharks operate illegally outside of the regulated lending system, whereas licensed lenders such as banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions are approved and supervised by government regulatory organizations. Doing business with a loan shark involves getting into an illegal agreement with no legal recourse.

2. Interest Rates 

Licensed lenders must obey legislation that limits the annual interest rates they can charge to appropriate levels. According to SEC Memorandum Circular No. 3, Series of 2022, the maximum nominal interest rate is set at 6% per month, or roughly 0.2% per day.  on the other hand, usually demand outrageous interest rates of 100% or more each year. Borrowers would struggle to repay the entire loan amount due to these high rates of interest.

3. Debt Collection Practices

When you miss payments to a licensed lender, they are required to obey regulations that prohibit harassing and aggressive debt collection techniques. Loan sharks face no such constraints and frequently use threats, blackmail, and even violence to pursue delinquent debtors. 

4. Repayment Terms

Licensed lenders provide detailed repayment conditions and schedules in writing. debt sharks may make unclear verbal agreements and continue to extend the debt and interest owed through intimidation. 

5. Lending Criteria

If you want a loan from a licensed lender, you must meet certain requirements, such as having a suitable income and credit history. Loan sharks can lend to anyone, regardless of ability to repay, to earn from overbearing interest and fees. 

The fundamental reality is that loan sharks exploit desperation through fraudulent, aggressive, and illegal lending techniques that may swiftly spiral into nightmare debt traps. Always engage with licensed and regulated lenders who abide by consumer protection regulations. If you are struggling with debt, get assistance from a non-profit credit counselor.

Avoid Loan Sharks: Choose a Licensed Lender Like Vidalia

If you need to borrow money, Vidalia Lending Corp. is an excellent option as a fully licensed and regulated lender. Vidalia offers competitive rates and flexible terms, and its lending practices follow all applicable state and federal laws for consumer protection. 

You can trust that we will treat you fairly as a borrower, with no shady tactics or hidden fees. Our team of friendly loan officers will walk you through the process and provide full transparency on rates and repayment. Apply Now!