microfinance | March 14, 2011

Douglas Merrill: My Borrowers Aren't Trying to Buy Flat-Screen TVs. They're Trying to Eat.

At the SXSW 2011 Festival in Austin, Lavin speaker Douglas Merrill spoke on a panel called “The Future of Consumer Lending,” about personal debt, responsible lending, and why 30 million Americans basically live paycheck-to-paycheck. The Guardian UK writes, “The most interesting of the panelists was Douglas Merrill, a former chief information officer at Google and Rand Corporation staffer who is now in the business of providing small, ‘friendly’ loans to individuals through his start-up ZestCash.” The paper also made note of Merrill’s “rhetoric about the social injustices endured by many of his clients” — clients who, in Merrill’s words, “aren’t trying to buy flat-screen TVs, but are simply trying to eat.” ZestCash’s loan limit, as of right now, is set at $500. For more on Douglas Merrill’s ZestCash, this Tech Crunch article is a good place to start.

Photo above from Joi via Flickr, CC

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