In tough times, many use credit cards or payday loan schemes to bridge the gap between pay cheques. But one of the oldest forms of banking, the pawn loan, should make more sense for some.
In 1955, Howard Isman opened Royal City Jewellers and Loans on Columbia Street in New Westminster. Fast-forward to today and the business is now Canada’s largest single-store pawnbroker. It’s still owned by the same family and Michael Isman is the company President. The store is run by a management team including the General Manager, Ken Basso, who joined the company 30 years ago. “We’ve always been a part of downtown New Westminster. We’ve seen a lot of businesses come and go but we’ve been consistent,” explains Basso over the phone from the shop.
When it comes to logistics it’s quite straightforward to get quick cash in exchange for a valued collateral item. Simply bring in an item, such as a piece of jewellery, an unlocked cell phone, electronic or sports gear and tell one of their loan officers how much cash you are interested in borrowing. Once the loan officer determines that the item is of appropriate value, it will be stored for up to three months in which time the loan can be paid back, or renewed by paying the interest. If the owner doesn’t return to reclaim the item, it is sold via Royal City Jewellers and Loans’ store.
With many pawnbrokers and payday loan offices operating throughout the lower mainland, clients may have a hard time choosing the one to work with. But Basso says the decision is easy when you compare the interest rates. “At five per cent all included, we have the lowest interest rate in Canada [some shops charge up to 20 per cent interest]. There are no additional or hidden fees and we’ll allow you to pay down the loan without penalty,” he explains. Also, there are no credit checks or requirements that clients be employed. Clients simply need to provide government-certified ID with the collateral.
Though pawnbrokers have received a bad rap over the years, Basso says the business he manages serves a need for the community: “We give every effort to meet our customers goal. I bumped into a customer from years ago who told me she used our services in the ‘90s and said the loans helped her raise her children.” “It was our pleasure to help.”
For more information visit http://www.rcj.ca/