Definition of loan shark

A loan shark is an illegal moneylender who often charges very high interest rates. The term is also used informally to describe registered money lenders charging very high rates such as payday lenders.


loan sharks in the news

In December 2012 there were fears of a shadow banking crisis in China. Many of the illegal loan shark operations in Wenzhou had imploded meaning that long chains of underground financing deals, often at predatory interest rates, had collapsed. The fallout hit the fomal banking system which experienced a rise in the non-performing loan ratio to 3 per cent from 0.4 per cent a year earlier. However, as loan sharks were concentrated in Wenzhou there were few ripples beyond the city. The trusts, wealth management products and entrusted loan operations that are China's shadow banks remained unaffected.

In January 2012 a Greek prosecutor launched a criminal probe of more than 50 people accused of involvement in a loan shark network in the northern port city of Thessaloniki.