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Finbond Group, which owns the majority stake in Finbond Mutual Bank in SA and various payday loan outfits in the US, Canada, Mexico and Panama, faced strong headwinds in 2021. Though the company’s full-year loss shrank, it continues to struggle to get the North American unit back in the black.

The company, based in Pretoria, was hit by regulatory changes in Illinois after the state legislature capped annual interest and fees on payday loans at 36%. According to Finbond, its operations in Illinois were responsible for 40% of the US unit’s revenue and 26.9% of total group revenue in the 2021 fiscal year. Illinois’s general assembly said in the preamble to the new legislation that “in 2020, nearly half of Illinois payday loan borrowers earn less than $30,000 per year, and the average annual percentage rate of a payday loan is 297%”...

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