Remember that bank executive who worried he wouldn’t be able to afford to send his children to an exclusive private school and afford his family’s summer rental home in Connecticut? Maybe he should consider a high-interest loan from one of these pawn stars for the wealthy.
“A lot of people like to call them the 1% but we call them our client base,” one luxury pawn broker tells CNN about his business. “These are people who are well-off, who have extraordinary toys, but unfortunately are not liquid enough to keep them.”
So why would people choose to hand over their $90,000 Rolex, or their coin collection, or their Torah if they are already wealthy?
The one broker explains that owning a Ferrari or having a big house doesn’t necessarily equate to a credit score over 700.
So for the convenience of not having to go through a credit check or the long application process (or having their credit scores dinged any further if they default), borrowers at the two brokers CNN spoke to are expected to pay 4% interest per month. That’s 48% APR, the maximum allowable by New York state. People in other states could face upward of 25% interest each month.
Also, borrowers will not be getting the full value of the item the take out the loan against. For example, CNN talked to one man who couldn’t get a small business loan to open a new seafood restaurant, so he took out a $30,000 loan against a necklace that had been appraised at $54,000.
“We are nothing more than your neighborhood branch of Chase,” explained one broker. “We’re just easier to get a loan from.”
And for a man who makes a living on charging a sky-high interest rate, the broker has some surprisingly sensible advice for potential clients: “Just borrow what you need and what you can afford to pay back.”