Sometimes when we look at the shadowy dealings of big companies, there’s a complicated line of dots to follow, going from point A, to B, to C, where we try to follow the ball under the shells, and see where the money actually is.
In the case of Google banning payday loans from their ad networks, it doesn’t seem nearly so complicated as that.
If you haven’t heard, Google is banning payday loan firms from advertising on their ad network (the biggest in the world). Now, superficially it sounds like they’re trying to be good guys (though paternalistic, much like the Obama administration in fighting payday loans). But it turns out there’s a much simpler reason they’d want to do this: competition.
You see, in 2013, Google dropped $1.5 Billion in LendingClub, a “peer to peer lending” online service that offers small personal loans, among the options available.
Interest rates very for LendingClub personal loans, but they go as high as 34%. That doesn’t sound as high as payday loans, which have annualized rates much higher, but the LendingClub loans collect that interest over a much longer period.
Don’t be evil, eh?