Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra has not received any signals about abuses in offering 24/7 online payday loans with ‘usury interest’ to companies. He also sees no reason to do specific research into this.
He writes this in a letter to the House of Representatives in response to questions from members Azarkan and Öztürk (both Denk). They pointed the minister to parties that advertise the ability to offer loans to entrepreneurs quickly and wondered whether these lenders are allowed to charge ‘usury interest’ of 3% per month plus 20 euros per month. According to Hoekstra, this is allowed, because the applicable legislation on consumer credit only applies to the provision of credit to consumers.
‘Where a financial undertaking provides a financial service to a natural person acting in the conduct of his business or profession, that person shall not be protected by the rules protecting consumers. Persons acting in the exercise of their business or profession may, where appropriate, invoke the general protection of property law.’
No signs of abuses
Hoekstra is not aware of whether these types of payday loans have also led to financial problems for entrepreneurs and/or bankruptcies. “At the moment I have no signals about serious abuses or major problems in this industry due to high-interest rates or other costs. That is why I see no reason to do specific research into this.”
According to the minister, it is also questionable whether small entrepreneurs should receive extra protection in this specific area, equal to that of consumers. “Consumers are protected because they usually have an information deficit and are in a weaker position compared to entrepreneurs. More preparation and knowledge is expected from entrepreneurs.”
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Finally, Hoekstra points out that rules of conduct have now been drawn up by a number of providers of SME financing.
“The new SME Financing Foundation (started with ten parties) is also drawing up rules of conduct and agreements on transparency. These must be ready by 1 January 2019. In addition, as announced in the SME Action Plan, the government will start a study this year into the functioning of the (alternative) financing market.”