‘It makes sense to help’: IT manager saves borrowers from payday debt spiral
To watch Sudhir Motwani, you might not think he was on a life-changing mission.
He has worked in IT, mainly in Wellington, since moving from New Delhi to New Zealand in 1985.
But now that his daughters are independent and abroad, and he and his wife have paid off their mortgage, he is looking for ways to use the disposable income he now has to help others.
Motwani saw an opportunity when Thing profiled Blair, who estimated he spent $ 40,000 trying to get out of a $ 900 payday loan because he could never get rid of the debt.
* Misery caused by high interest loans revealed by survey of budget agencies
* $ 40,000 spent trying to escape a $ 900 loan
He was paying over 400% interest per year.
Motwani contacted Blair and paid off all of his payday loans. All he asked was for Blair to pay him back, interest-free, as much as he could.
Motwani said it didn’t cost him anything except the six months of interest he missed because he didn’t have the money in the bank. “Which is nothing considering bank interest rates these days.”
He said being able to help showed him that one simple thing could make a huge difference in another person’s life.
Getting stuck in payday debt could lead to a “real spiral”.
Motwani has since tried to help a number of other troubled borrowers featured in the media. He estimates he got two or three and the conversations continue with the others. It avoids situations where people will continue to get into debt.
As an independent entrepreneur, Motwani said he often had large sums of money in his bank account, ready to pay GST or interim tax.
It paid almost nothing but could be used to help someone else.
Now he’s trying to bring together a group of other people in a similar situation – getting a pension they didn’t need, or earning a good income with few commitments – to help in a more formal way.
About five people from his company were ready, he said, and work was underway to put structures and processes in place so they could spend time with each person as well as money.
There would need to be a way to manage expectations, he said, so that the program is not inundated with many more requests for help than it could handle.
“I want to create something that goes beyond just helping someone with a $ 50 donation … if you combine 20 or 30 of those donations and give them to one person as a gift. or short term loan, it can make a real difference.
“It seemed such a simple thing to get people out of this mess, especially people who work hard but are trapped in debt.”
He said he hoped the people he was helping could someday “pay him back.”
“New Zealand has been nice to me, an immigrant with US $ 20 (NZ $ 30) in [his] pocket arriving on a rainy, very cold and windy day from Wellington. “