Pawn shops doing more loans in troubled economy

While the conventional banks of the world may be tightening their credit, making it harder for anyone to get a loan, there is still the good old reliable corner pawn shop.

Pawn brokers in Grand Junction say they are seeing more people hocking items for loans.

Shopkeepers also are saying more people are coming through the door, with cash in hand, looking for a steal.

Jeff Nottingham, manager of Mesa Pawn and Loan, 225 S. Second St., said he has seen a 30 percent “increase in our pawn amounts, and there seems to be a higher default ratio as well.”

Just like at a bank, a pawn shop wants to make responsible loans that people will pay back. At the bank, someone’s credit-worthiness is determined by filling out forms and doing a credit check. At the pawn shop, it’s done with an eye.

“It is called 20 years in the business,” said Larry Bruner, owner of Big J Jewelry and Loan, 136 S. Seventh St.

He, too, has seen more people bartering their goods for bill-paying cash.

“I am seeing an increase in things that people don’t necessarily have to have, just different things,” he said.

The loan business at Big Js has increased about 20 percent, but because he knows how to read a customer, he said, most of the loans are being repaid.

“I don’t think our default rates are increasing because of the economy,” Bruner said.

Uptown at the Cash Company, 2938 North Ave., the economy is driving sales, owner Brian Langfitt said.

“My default rate is staying pretty firm here, but I am seeing my pawns going up and my sales going up, which is kind of interesting. They don’t normally go together,” Langfitt said.


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