FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., June 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Weston-based nationwide gold buyer GoldFellow® announced all of the company's Florida retail stores are now authorized Express Gold Loan™ locations. Express Gold Loan™ is an installment loan collateralized by the borrower's gold, silver, platinum and diamond jewelry. Consumers can borrow $100 - $5,000 for 6 – 12 months or longer at very low affordable monthly payments and lower rates than pawn shops.
GoldFellow®'s role in the transaction is to appraise the jewelry, obtain required identification and provide secure storage for the Express Gold Loan™ customer's collateral. The borrower decides the terms and makes equal monthly payments of principal and interest until the loan is repaid. Upon repayment of the loan, their items are returned.
This is a departure from business as usual for GoldFellow® whose core customer sells their gold and other jewelry to the nationwide buyer and refiner. Unlike the Express Gold Loan™ collateral, items purchased by GoldFellow® are typically refined.
"Our idea here was to give the consumer an option when they come to a GoldFellow® store. We're in the business of buying gold – but if someone really needs money and prefers not to sell an heirloom for instance, an Express Gold Loan™ is a great solution," explained GoldFellow® President Steve Hansen.
"We're filling a need in the marketplace," added Hansen. "Most banks won't lend money on small quantities of gold and jewelry. Pawn shops will lend money – but at high cost and risk of forfeiture. An Express Gold Loan™ is cheaper and easier to repay so it improves the chance of the borrower getting their valuables back."
According to the Express Gold Loan™ website, www.expressgoldloan.com, their "gold loan" is cheaper than pawn over the life of the loan. Express Gold Loan™ rates are between 1.5% - 2.5% per month depending on the loan value as compared to pawn rates, which in Florida can legally include fees, and can run as high as 25% per month.
"The goal here was to offer a loan that makes it cheaper and easier for the consumer to repay so they can get their jewelry back…and if they like the experience, use the jewelry to borrow more," confided Hansen. "Everything is computerized. We can complete the transaction in as little as 10 minutes."
Unlike pawn loans, Express Gold Loan™ is an installment loan from licensed consumer finance company, OroCredit™ LLC. The product is more similar to a car loan than a pawn loan in that the borrower selects their terms and makes equal monthly payments of principal and interest. There are no fees, pre-payment penalties or credit checks. Pawn loans are typically short-term 30-day loans with balloon payments of principal and interest at the end.
A search of "gold loan" online yields many results – mainly from India which has an established gold loan industry. But in the U.S. pawn loans or gold selling is more typical.
"We believe Express Gold Loan™ is the first company in the U.S. to exclusively offer this type of gold loan," said Hansen. "It's a better alternative to pawning gold and when the word gets out, I believe consumers will embrace it. We've been testing the Express Gold Loan™ concept over the past year and have made over 200 loans."
Hansen says GoldFellow® plans to eventually roll the product out nationally and online, projecting Express Gold Loan™ to generate several million dollars of loans over the next 12 months.
"The market exists for the product," said Hansen. "We just need to get the word out that there is a much better alternative to pawning jewelry."
GoldFellow® has been in business since 2007 and is one of the leading gold buyers in the U.S. with a robust internet business, walk-in and by-appointment locations, party, wholesale and international divisions. The company enjoys an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and has a reputation for honesty. Founder Michael Gusky, a 30+ year gold jewelry industry veteran who sold his previous company to Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway in 2007, was recently featured on America's Money Class with Suze Orman on the Oprah Winfrey Network.