Getting a cash advance has never been easier for sophisticated ladies in Hong Kong.
Yes Lady Co. offers loans on the spot against the trendiest handbags, namely Gucci, Chanel, Hermès or Louis Vuitton (sometimes Prada), as collateral, reports the WSJ. After Yes Lady accepts a purse, they give 80 percent of the bag’s value to its owner, who will repay the loan with 4 percent monthly interest within four months.
“I have too many idle handbags at home,” says Angel Yam, a white-collar worker in Hong Kong who uses Yes Lady, “I don’t feel any loss when I take some of them as collateral for loans.”
Classic purses and special editions often retain much of their retail price, making them ideal for a handbag loan. As Daniel Saynt, chief creative director of digital branding agency Socialyte.co, sums it up, “I’ve never seen anyone with a Birkin left out of a party.”
Irene Chu, manager of Yes Lady, says her business mostly attracts affluent locals who need short-term liquidity, often because their money is tied up in the stock market, or they have tuition needs for their children.
This form of short-term loan is considered a very respectable and convenient resource since they do not want to deal with the hassle of a traditional loan through a bank. They would rather risk losing a handbag than marring their credit score.
While banks are regulated by the rigid Hong Kong Monetary Authority, non-banks like Yes Lady are subjected to the more flexible guidelines of the Money Lenders or Pawnbrokers Ordinance. Yes Lady customers do not need to provide proof of income or subject themselves to a credit check. All that is needed is a Hong Kong identification card, an address, and a really glam bag.
There is little risk involved for both side, as Chu reports that most customers pay the loan back quickly. Sometimes, though, customers will try to bring in fakes. Even this gets handled gracefully. “We don’t tell them we know,” Chu said, “We just say we can’t approve the loan.”
One in five of the company’s customers are men, says Chu. She recalled a man who brought in 40 or 50 Gucci purses at once. They had come from his own store. He received a cash advance of $38,000 and did come back to reclaim his bags. If the thought of going to a handbag emporium makes guys blush, the Yes Man Finance Co. is located just next door.
photo credit: wen-cheng liu