Speedy Cash is expanding internationally.
An official of the Wichita-based payday lender that operates 90 Speedy Cash and Rapid Cash stores in nine states said it is making plans to open its first overseas store, in the United Kingdom.
"Our goal is to have a physical presence there by the end of the year," said Bill Baker, Speedy Cash Holding Corp.' s vice president of marketing and business development.
Baker said the company has had in its long-term plans a strategy to expand internationally. In the past 12 months, company officials began exploring the idea more seriously, looking at the U.K. and other countries.
After a lot of due diligence, Baker said, the company settled on the U.K. for several reasons, including a dense population, strong demand and "less saturation" by competitors.
"It's an immediate opportunity to grow and steal market share," he said.
Baker declined to say exactly where in the U.K. the company will put the store but said it has looked at London and the surrounding area as well as other cities.
He said Speedy Cash won't be the only U.S.-based competitor operating there.
Pennsylvania-based Dollar Financial, a publicly traded payday lender that operates under several brands including Money Mart, Loan Mart and Money Shop, has more than 300 stores in the U.K.
Baker said establishing a presence there isn't any more difficult than in the U.S.
"It's just different," he said. Real estate transactions there are different, as are labor laws.
"They simply take more of what they call holidays," Baker said.
The expansion into Europe likely will mean the need to hire more people in Wichita, where Speedy Cash employs 168 at its Ridge Road headquarters.
"We'll certainly hire several positions to support (the U.K. operations)," Baker said.
He said Speedy Cash also plans to open another 10 to 15 stores in the U.S. this year.