Payday loan client in Calgary gets help from Good Samaritan

A Calgary man who has paid almost $2,000 on a $400 payday loan he took out last year is free of the vicious cycle of debt, thanks to a generous stranger.

Stranger writes a cheque to get payday loan borrower out of vicious cycle

Payday loan donation

7 years ago
Duration 1:01
A generous Calgarian has stepped forward to help a local man caught up in the cycle of payday loans.

"I heard your story yesterday on the radio and it's just sad so I just thought I'd help you out." 

And with that Jim Prokop wrote a cheque for $492 to cover Ashley Keewatin's payday loan debt that started a year and a half ago.

CBC Calgary reported Keewatin's story on Wednesday. The Calgary resident — who relies on Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) — had borrowed $400 for a damage deposit in March 2014.

Every month he repaid that money, plus $92 in interest, but then had to turn around and borrow the $400 again to keep afloat. 

He says he's paid almost $2,000 overall.

'I just thought I'd help the fellow out'

Jim Prokop is a small business owner in Calgary who heard the story on CBC.

"It really touched me in the sense that somebody's vulnerable and in need and he's paying some [exorbitant] in interest fees ... just to live, so I just thought I'd help the fellow out and pay off his loan and he can move forward."

Prokop says he likes to help homeless people or those in need as much as he can.

"As of today I am out of that payday cycle. I'm free, I'm free at last," said Keewatin. "I'll be able to put groceries on my table, you know, like a little bit more groceries. It's financial freedom from this cycle that I was in.

"And as far as payday loans are concerned I have learned my lesson," he added.

The Alberta government is asking for the public's input on payday loans over concerns about the amount of interest they charge.

In Alberta those companies are allowed to charge $23 for every $100 borrowed, which is the second highest rate in the country.

An online survey will be on the Service Alberta website until Oct. 28. There will also be face-to-face meetings with industry and other stakeholders.


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