A Loan Shark is a stock villain who typically loans money at high interest rates and will stop at nothing to get it back. The loan shark may be only too eager to use violence if necessary. He may also have mob connections, as money-lending is a time-honored means for organized crime to use money gotten from any number of less-than-honest means, and the hounding of their victims for payment and interest is just another means of extortion. In some cases, a loan shark will be reluctant to kill a debtor because a corpse can't pay its dues, while other times the loan shark would be gleeful to cut them into pieces so they can put their rare, precious organs on the black market. Of course, the loan shark may decide to make use of the debtor for a job or caper that offers a huge payoff but requires the debtor's skill, they will consider the borrower's debt paid if done well, but with blackmail usually involved. If you do somehow get square with the loan shark, you were likely privy to illegal activity during the deal, and the loan shark may decide to kill you because you're a loose end after you've paid your dues.
Loan sharks feature a lot in action movies, where they're usually tied to The Mafia, The Triads and the Tongs, the Yakuza or whatever other organized crime group features as the primary villain of the piece. Typically, the person being hounded by the loan sharks is someone who ran up a nasty gambling debt or needed money for some other reason and had nowhere else to turn, and now they are putting the heat on him to get their money back (with interest) and the borrower is unable to pay. Enter the hero, who is usually a friend of the borrower, who comes across the loan sharks doing their bit of nasty, beats the crap out of them and sends them packing. The loan sharks get pissed and the conflict ensues.
Unfortunately, this is Truth in Television (although some real-life Loan Sharks can be more flexible than others), and some high schools show videos warning students about the dangers of borrowing from loan sharks. Actual banks, within the United States and its allies at least, do not operate under this trope and will in fact often accept pennies on the dollar rather than have to repossess cars and houses. Bankers do not want to own your collateral because they tend to have trouble selling it to get their money (doing so was what caused the sub-prime mortgage crisis and subsequent "Great Recession" of 2008) and even in boom markets, owning property to sell is often costlier than most banks want to deal with. Also of note is payday lending, which, due to its legality in the US, does not involve violence but is less lenient than banks.
For literal sharks, see Threatening Shark.
- Half the premise of Hayate the Combat Butler is that the hero's parents, being pursued by exactly these kinds of loan sharks in the form of the Yakuza (a.k.a. the Very Nice People), agree to sell him to them for his organs without his knowledge in order to repay their debt.
- Although that plotline is closed up in short order it's likely that both Hinagiku and Yukiji's parents and Luka have had dealings with these same type of people.
- Binbou Shimai Monogatari has a father who ran away from a dangerous debt.
- It turns out that he's paying his friend's debt, not his own.
- One of the characters in Paranoia Agent owes the Yakuza a large amount of money. And it just keeps getting larger.
- A running theme in seinen manga Wa ga Na wa Umishi is how they are ever going to pay off the astronomical $14 million debt they owe the bank. The slimy loan officer never fails to turn up to collect most of their earning whenever they do a succesful job.
- Disaster survivors such as Faye Valentine of Cowboy Bebop didn't get their cryogenic treatment for free.
- Higurashi: When They Cry. One of the cons run by Teppei and Rina. Teppei will lend money to gamblers. After they lose it, Rina will offer to loan them money so they can pay him back. True, the interest rate is downright extortionate, but being in debt to her is better than being in debt to him, right?
- One Piece:
- Paulie makes his entrance while being chased down a public street by a pair of suits demanding money. Apparently this happens a lot.
- One could argue that Nami's original reason for stealing money was due to this, since she was attempting to buy her village free from Arlong and his fish-men. Bonus points for Arlong being an actual shark, too.
- Nami herself also counts after she's freed from Arlong. Her typical lending rate is 300% interest, and if any situation involves scoring some extra cash, she goes from the Only Sane Man to no less reckless than the rest of her crew.
- 'Arlong' even sounds like the Chinese dialect Hokkien phrase for 'loanshark' (at least in Singaporean Hokkien, see Live Action TV below).
- One filler episode features a more heroic example, with a retired moneylender who used to lend money to pirates. Most of the pirates would try to just abscond without paying him back, at which point he chased after them to take it back by force.
- Akumetsu kicks off with the initial female lead (who fades out of the story after a while) renting/selling herself into teenage prostitution because of her father's crushing debt, caused by a loan-sharking bank. At first it was indicated that her parents had sold her, a la Hayate above, but later it emerges that they have no idea she even knows how dire their financial straits are. The girl is rescued by Akumetsu, who kills the central bureaucratic fat cat with an axe before having his head blown off. A later arc involves Akumetsu taking on the leaders of various banks in a shame-and-threaten campaign on national television after running across the girl's father contemplating suicide by revenge-with-large-truck in a playpark on his way to school.
- Garome from Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds, who even sends thugs after children. When forced to duel, his deck theme concentrates on loaning creatures to his opponent, then doing massive damage to them each turn if they can't get rid of the creatures. After Jack wins against him, he tears up the loan contracts, and since Garome is never heard from again after the episode is over, he likely went out of business or fled from Neo Domino City.
- The Otogi Bank from Ōkami-san functions this way, although they deal in social debts and not finances.
- One entire manga is about loan sharks, Naniwa Kinyudo, though from a more realistic perspective — they operate legally if exploitatively, charging extremely high interest to desperate people, sometimes merely making sure they will get ahold of the collateral, but also doing things like manipulating them to take second jobs or go into prostitution.
- More than one of these appear in Case Closed. Unsurprisingly, they all become Asshole Victims of their cases. Of special note is the pawn shop owner Akira Sumida, who is such a bitch that at least three people want her head.
- Tom of Durarara!! is a pleasant, even-tempered man who works in the Loan Shark business for some Yakuza-types. He doesn't like using violence and generally relies on his super-strong and hot tempered friend/partner Shizuou to frighten recalcitrant customers.
- Those in Kaiji are quite happy to pursue not only their debtors but also those who have co-signed for them in nefarious ways.
- The basic premise of [C] Control is that mysterious beings loan people large amounts of money, with the condition that they must then gamble it in weekly inter-dimensional tournaments. Go bankrupt, and you lose your future, literally. The resident Loan Shark person, Masakaki, even regularly displays shark teeth when being particularly greedy.
- While Knuckle from Hunter × Hunter isn't an actual Loan Shark, his nen ability, Hakoware, is themed this way. Every time he hits an opponent, he lends them some of his nen, making them more powerful. But the loaned nen accrues interest every ten seconds, and if the opponent don't hit him back to return the nen he gave them, they'll eventually go over a certain limit and "bankrupt", losing their nen for a month.
- City Hunter has an old man trying to rob the Yakuza loan sharks who bankrupted him and ruined his life. Thanks to having used his last money to hire the best courier of Tokyo's underground to drive the getaway car and said courier having hired Ryo as a bodyguard, he not only succeeds and gets away with it but gets the satisfaction of seeing the car of the Yakuza enforcers wrecked.
- Part of the reason Hayate from Hayate X Blade joins her school's sword-fighting tournament in place of her injured sister is because a group of Yakuza loan sharks left their old orphanage under a mountain of debt.
- The Twilight Ogre guild in Fairy Tail operates this way. When Fairy Tail falls on hard times, Twilight Ogre offers them money, then spends the next seven years harassing them and destroying their property when they fail to pay back all their interest. After their strongest members return after getting frozen in time and find out what happened, Fairy Tail pays them back, all right—in terms of all the suffering and damages their guild sustained over all those years. Twilight Ogre promptly leaves them alone after that.
- Drakken Joe from EDENS ZERO is the head honcho of a civilian space fortress whose residents are all completely swamped in debt to him. When one unlucky sap owes him millions, Drakken's response is to mess up his mouth with a broken glass bottle before offering to let him suffer any Fate Worse than Death of his choice until he can finally pay him back. He always takes special care not to kill his debtors, though; he can't get his money back if they're dead and they're always useful as fuel for his life-support machine.
- Futaba's abusive uncle Youji in Persona 5: The Animation is in massive debt due to a gang of loan sharks. When Sojiro refuses to give him his niece or any money, he is next seen being beat up by the gang. Ren sees this, but walks away.
- Silver Plan to Redo From JK: Maki and her father are pursued by some loan sharks due to the father's debts. These loan sharks are somewhat nicer than most, especially their leader Okamura: when the family doesn't have enough money to pay them back on one occasion, he takes what they have and simply warns them to have enough money the next time.
- A Scooby-Doo comic book had the Scooby-Doo gang in Vegas for unspecified purpose. Shaggy is, at one point, threatened by two enormous thugs, who demand $30. Later on, he frantically visits a loan shark and says he needs $30 on the spot; the loan shark is happy to oblige, but he'll need $100 in an hour. At this, Shaggy runs off in a panic, making excuses. The kicker is that Shaggy had at no point done anything to actually incur this debt - he was just randomly assaulted by two goons who weren't going to take "broke" for an answer.
- In the Judge Dredd universe, one of the most lucrative rackets is Body Sharking, a form of loan sharking where suspended animation technology is used to keep the debtor's loved one as collateral. You don't pay up and mummy dearest will never wake up.
- Especially not after having her organs harvested. A different one being removed for each missed payment.
- The Robert Asprin/Mel White graphic novel Duncan and Mallory: The Bar-None Ranch has the main characters and their fellow con-artists dealing with a gang of literal loan sharks.
- The Disney Duck universe has Soapy Slick, who tried to swindle Scrooge McDuck out of his entire fortune by claiming that he was never paid off on an ancient debt with an outrageous interest rate. Ascended Fanboy Don Rosa later added another detail to the deal: originally, the debt had a ten percent per month interest rate and Soapy even allowed Scrooge McDuck to Read the Fine Print to be sure there wasn't any. What Scrooge failed to notice was the fact there was enough space between the "10" and the % sign to add another zero.
- The Angel comic continuation, "After the Fall", featured a loan-shark-demon of the same type as the Buffy example below (according to one of the writers, they're the same character). He was one of the "Demon Lords" who carved up LA after the Senior Partners sent the city to Hell, but betrayed the other Lords to Angel.
Angel: We picked the Lord most likely to sell everyone else out.
Connor: You went with the loan shark.
Angel: Man's career path is based on a pun, can't be too much inner pride.
- One MAD Magazine "Melvin and Jenkins" sketch has the kindly Jenkins assure friends he's loaned money too that they can take as much time as possible to pay it back. Melvin does too, but also wakes them up every morning at 3:30am with a tape recording of a kneecap being broken in two places at once until they repay the loan.
- The Punisher: Frank doesn't like loan sharks anymore than he likes any other type of criminal, and puts them pretty high on his list.
- Deadpool: Wade will sometimes borrow money from loan sharks when he's bored, both to see if they are dumb enough to loan money to an unkillable mercenary, and to see if they are Too Dumb to Live in trying to force payment from an unkillable mercenary.
- New Game Plus: Nami is no better than in canon; she agrees to cover the damage dealt by Luffy's demonstration of strength for "200% interest per week, with a bimonthly increase of 27% and a semi-annual fee of 2,500,000 Beri until completion." Buggy is appalled.
- In Harry Potter and the Champion's Champion, Gringotts acts like this to particularly pesky clients, with Section 48, Subsection A, Sub-Subsection 18, which, to be fair, are usually jerkasses like Lucius Malfoy or the publisher of the Daily Prophet. The interest, revealed in the fine print is compounded weekly, not annually, like Lucius thought. Lucius ends up forced to dig tunnels for the goblins with his bare hands to Work Off the Debt and is eventually released when he is more trouble than he's worth, dumped in the arctic at the age of over three hundred, and eventually eaten by a polar bear.
- In Ambience: A Fleet Symphony, a young Damon had a friend who got killed when these sorts came calling over her parents' debts.
- An Emerald Unearthed: The Big Bad, Randall Silva, was a loan shark who kept Emeralds father under his thumb when he couldn't pay back debts. Appropriately, he's also a Faunus with shark teeth.
- I Think We'll Be Okay: Kosuke finds out that her deceased father dealt with one, and now it's up to her to repay the debt he left behind. While being confronted, she realizes that not only was the interest rate on the loan much higher than what's legal, but that the shark had purposefully waited a while after Marti's death to rack up more money.
- The Daredevil (2015) fanfic The Sins of the Father is kicked off when Wilson Fisk hires Bullseye to assassinate Elektra Natchio's father Hugo (who he coerced into smuggling heroin into the United States) and Carl Hoffman (a corrupt cop who Fisk coerced into killing his own partner). Matt and Elektra are quick to figure out early on that Fisk had Hugo killed because Hugo didn't want to continue with the smuggling operation after Fisk was arrested. Eventually, they learn the whole truth at a party when they get a chance to talk to Eric Slaughter, Hugo's close friend and chief operating officer. It turns out that in the late 1970s, when Hugo started his company, no bank was willing to loan him the money he needed to purchase his first ship because, as a Greek immigrant, he had no property to his name to offer as collateral. In desperation, he borrowed from Don Rigoletto, a loan shark based out of Hell's Kitchen. At the time, Fisk was Rigoletto's henchman, and was responsible for collecting from Hugo after each shipment until the debts were repayed. Fisk later took over Rigoletto's operation after Rigoletto was sent to prison in the 1990s, and eventually had him killed after he got out in the early 2010s. In 2013, when Fisk began his partnerships with the Ranskahov brothers, Nobu, and Madame Gao, he needed a partner to transport Madame Gao's heroin from China to New York City. He leaned on his past acquaintance with Hugo, and blackmailed him into transporting the heroin by threatening to expose an import tax evasion scam that Hugo and his business partners at the docks had been running for years. Hugo was able to stop the operation after Fisk was arrested and Gao was forced to flee the country, but less than a year later, Fisk decided to resume the operation with a new local gang, the Enforcers, distributing. He had Vanessa approach Hugo to try and coerce him into restarting the pipeline. Rather than cave, Hugo tried to get out by offering to give up incriminating records he'd made of every one of Fisk's shipments, in exchange for Fisk giving up the dirt he had on Hugo. Fisk promptly had Hugo killed, and coerced Slaughter into resuming the operation by threatening to have his wife killed.
- The Bill Sykes of Disney's Oliver & Company is a loan shark, and Disney doesn't even try to play down how ruthless he is. There are even clear Mafia connections and the very real prospect of him killing Fagin, to whom he had lent the money.
- The Friends on the Other Side are the Greater-Scope Villain in The Princess and the Frog, and they are in essence, supernatural Loan Sharks. They'll make deals with you for otherworldly powers, and asking for further help would require you to appease and/or offer them even more. Defaulting on this debt is a 'very bad thing as they can choose to repossess you.
- Mr. Perkins, the CEO of the Bank of Evil (formerly Lehman Brothers) and the Greater-Scope Villain of Despicable Me, seems to act as a loan shark. He lent Gru large sums of money to pull off great heists and has angrily ranted at Gru for failing to reimburse those loans. He then shows Gru his hand squeezing an apple into pulp and telling Gru that he's running out of patience. To make matters worse, he also turns out to be the father of Gru's rival, Vector.
- Star Wars: Jabba the Hutt is a gangster who does loan sharking, but his primary business with Han in the films is in smuggling. The money Han owes Jabba is the value of the lost cargo, and he keeps adding interest to the debt.
- Pizza the Hutt from Spaceballs is a parody of Jabba the Hutt. He arbitrarily raises Lone Star's debt to him to one million spacebucks, citing "late charges".
- In Truck Turner, one of the hero's old friends is in debt to a shady fellow. A Running Gag is that he keeps making a few extra marks on the IOU that exponentially raise the debt every time his debtor angers him. He turns a 1 into a 4 the first time, for example.
- The hero of Takeshi Kitano's Hana-bi (Fireworks) should really have known better than borrow money from the yakuza. However, he might be even more badass than them, being played by Beat Takeshi and all.
- Gene Co in Repo! The Genetic Opera fill this role. They'll lend you money so you can get an organ transplant - but if you miss a single payment, they'll send out their Repo Man to take the organs back...
- In Stroszek, a regular loan is taken out by the lead and the love interest, which they can't quite afford. In contrast to these examples, the bank worker is comically non-combative. Things still don't turn out well.
- In Twins (1988), Danny DeVito's character is hounded by a family of violent loan sharks in virtually every other scene.
- The plot of the first The Addams Family film in 1991 revolved around an amnesiac Uncle Fester who had been brainwashed by the film's villain Abigail Craven to assist in her loan-sharking schemes and who thanks to their dead-beat's lawyer's debts towards her becomes interested in embezzling their fortune.
- Dirty Work: Dr. Farthing (Chevy Chase) the gambling-addicted doctor is being "asked" to pay back his loans.
Dr. Farthing: What I don't understand is... when you owe a bookie a lot of money, and he, say, blows off one of your toes, you still owe him the money. Doesn't seem fair to me. Especially when he's gonna kill me in four days anyway.
- The Sinister Urge, a film by Ed Wood about the dark, twisted crime world of pornography, uses this trope. The porn studio is shown to prey on young, unsuspecting girls by having the nice, sweet porn director hire naive girls as actresses and offer to front them money to live on, complete with paying their rent and buying her expensive dinners in order to prepare her for work at his studio. As one girl found out, though, her first "audition" has her meeting the director's financial backer and secret head of the porn syndicate. When she fails to get the drift when ordered to seductively pull up her skirt and show the porn boss her "hat", the porn boss reveals that it was HER money that the actress was living off of during the previous weeks and that if she doesn't do the movies the porn queen wants her to do, then she would contact the actress's father to make him pay back the money.
- In Ken Loach's Raining Stones the main character borrows money from loan sharks to buy his daughter a communion dress. This plot turns up a lot in social-realist film and TV.
- An odd subversion, in the Thai movie Chocolate, the main character is collecting loans found in her loan shark mother's ledger, to fund her mother's cancer care. None of the debtors wants to pay up, so she's forced to beat them up.
- In Rounders, Worm had accumulated several fairly small poker debts before going to jail. His former partner, Gramma, sensing an opportunity for a good score, goes around and buys off all Worm's creditors, meaning that Worm now has one big debt to him. Gramma states at least once that he's more than willing to use the traditional loan-shark "collection methods", but the real threat to Worm — and by extension, Mike — is fellow poker player and underground poker club owner Teddy KGB, who is called KGB because of his strong connections to the Russian mob. Turns out that Teddy provided the money for Gramma's business venture, figuring they'd both make a nice profit from the interest.
- Gazzo in the first two Rocky movies. In the first, Rocky works for him collecting money and beating up people who don't pay. Or in his trainer Mickey's words, he's: "a legbreaker for a cheap, second-rate loan shark". In Rocky II, Rocky's brother-in-law Paulie gets his old job. Gazzo is seen with a date rooting for Rocky during the climactic fight of both movies. Working for Gazzo later comes back to haunt him in the fifth movie.
- One of these kicks off the plot of Ringo Lam's Full Contact. Chow Yun-Fat's character rescues his brother from a loan shark, who the brother borrowed money from in order to pay for their mother's funeral. Since Chow had to kick the asses of his men in order to secure his brother's release, the loan shark is pissed. The brother mentions a friend of his who is looking for people to cut in on a job, which they can use to pay off the loan shark and get him out of their hair. The friend in question, Judge, and his gang were shown in the opening scene to be nothing but bad news, and the loan shark makes a deal with this guy behind Chow's back to have him killed during the job. Chow survives the resultant betrayal and hit attempt, and you better believe he wants payback.
- The movie Tom Cats had a cartoonist going to Vegas for a friend's wedding, where he ends up losing thousands, even though he said he had stopped. The casino owner said the roll was legitimate because he gave the dice to a hooker, who rolled for him. This kicks off the main plot.
- The Hong Kong comedy movie Shark Busters has these (and they are more honest and fair than the legal versions).
- Two of the villains in Suicide Kings. Who it is that owes them money becomes a plot point.
- In the first Otto movie, Otto borrows 1000 marks (minus exorbitant fees) from a loan shark and very soon has a debt of exactly 9876.50 marks. Hilarity Ensues as he tries to get the money.
- Brassed Off: Phil borrowed money to support his family during the Great Strike in 1984. Now, at the same time that the rest of his life is going down the toilet, they step up their efforts to collect.
- The main antagonist in Limitless is a loan shark and his thugs who apparently have connections to The Mafiya. Eddie eventually manages to pay him off, but the man continues to harass him because he sampled some of Eddie's NZT (a drug that temporarily enhances intelligence and memory) and wanted the whole batch.
- In the mystery film Nine Dead, Sully is a Las Vegas loan shark who has connections with the mob. He firebombed the homes of the people who refused to or couldn't pay him, which he regrets because he didn't know there were people inside at the time. This later turns out to be the key plot point in the mystery, as it was his loan that Christian had to pay back by any means that set the entire story in motion.
- In Barefoot, a loan shark's threat to "smash [the protagonist's] head open" if he doesn't pay up sets off the entire plot.
- In Armageddon, Rockhound borrows $100,000 from a loan shark (in the back of a dry cleaning store, no less) figuring that they're going to die on the mission. (Making his volunteering to stay and set off the nuke understandable.) He mentions to Chick that he spent the money on a stripper named "Molly Mounds," and Chick deadpans, "You got problems."
- The Drop has Cousin Marv, who used to lend to Glory Days (a nickname for the guy). He was very in debt, but a freak lottery win meant he could pay Cousin Marv back and then some. Because Cousin Marv was himself heavily in debt, he killed Glory Days so no one knew he was solvent.
- In St. Vincent (2014), Vincent is in deep with one; when he calls around with a gun and some muscle and tries to steal Vincent's wife's jewelry to pay off the debt, Vincent suffers a stroke.
- Cyberjack: Nick is in debt to a local criminal who is waiting for him in Nick's home at one point with several of his goons.
- James Caan in The Gambler played a college English teacher whose gambling addiction throws him into the clutches of a loan shark.
- The main character of Kim Ki-duk's Pieta is an enforcer for a loan shark, whose job is to threaten people into paying what they owe and to maim them if they can't pay.
- In This Is Your Death, the neighborhood loan shark actually turns down Mason's request for a loan, because he knows Mason is a decent man and respects him, and because he knows that Mason will never be able to repay him.
- Hatchet Harry from Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels is an evil loan shark who wants to get revenge against Eddy's father, JD, for beating Harry at cards quite a few years previously. He's quite happy to give Eddy a debt of half a million pounds and one week to find it. If he fails, Harry will cut off a finger for every day that passes without payment.
- In Change of Habit, practically everyone in the neighborhood owes money to The Banker, who dramatically hikes up the price with every missed payment and has his goons beat anyone who can't afford to pay him.
- Parasite (2019) has loan sharks as the Greater-Scope Villain. The film's Big Bad is a homeless man, Geun-sae, who is living in the rich family's mansion's bunker (that they don't know about) because he defaulted on high-interest loans he took out of negligence and greed all for a Taiwanese cake shop, which bombed in business and accrued debt big enough that he'll never pay it off in a lifetime. Geun-sae's wife has said that the loan sharks are still pursuing Geun-sae to cut him open for his organs.
- Martin Scorses's gangster movies generally feature these:
- Ana: Rafa is in debt with one after losing a bet on cock fighting. He has only a short time to pay it off (on the news its shown that another debtor was murdered).
- In the Aubrey-Maturin series, Jack Aubrey is pursued by creditors; for a while, he has to take advantage of some ridiculously arcane laws about where people are allowed to be arrested for debt. He ends up press-ganging the bailiffs who are trying to arrest him.
- A Christmas Carol: Ebenezer Scrooge is implied to be one, or at least a corrupt lender as he is quite wealthy and greedy, caring little for his customers or the poor. Although not as extreme as a criminal loan shark, he still shows little mercy to beggars and his clients who are facing financial troubles.
- Raskolnikov's landlady in Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment is also a loan shark, who exploits poor college students by getting them into debt and then threatening and harassing them to get them to pay up. This is one of the moral justifications Raskolnikov has for murdering her. Another motive is that she has tons of cash stashed away in her house, which Raskolnikov wants to steal so he can afford to stay in medical school, while still being able to support his family after his father dies.
- The Name of the Wind. The Loan Shark who appears, Devi, doesn't send thugs to collect money. She just has a small, sealed vial of her client's blood. No one ever has the courage to find out what nasty sort of magic she will do to those who are delinquent in their payments, and the protagonist Kvothe goes to great lengths to avoid paying late. Apart from this, however, Devi is really quite pleasant.
- Harry Potter: The Goblins that run Gringotts Wizarding Bank.
- In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, it turns out that Ludo Bagman owes them a lot in gambling debts, and has conned Fred, George and a whole lot of other people out of their bettings to pay them back... and it's still not enough. This is why he keeps trying to help Harry during the Triwizard Tournament, since he bet that Harry would win.
- Even more so in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, when Harry makes a deal with one to help him break into Gringotts bank so they could steal/destroy Hufflepuff's Goblet. What Harry didn't know, and had to find out the hard way, was that Goblins view every single Goblin-made item as being "borrowed" instead of "bought", and that they despise the idea that Goblin items are handed down through generations of human families. He learns this when, being trapped in the vault, Griphook chooses that exact moment to make off with Gryffindor's Sword and escape.
- Mack Bolan (of The Executioner series) sets forth on his campaign against the Mafia after his father snaps under pressure and kills his own family in a murder-suicide, brought on by the revelation that his daughter was prostituting herself to pay his debt to Mafia loan sharks.
- In Neal Stephenson's novel The Diamond Age, one character considers a loan from some highly respectable Parsi bankers but declines when he finds out about the nature of their collections policy. Their "reminders" to pay seem to be some kind of painful torture mechanism implanted in the debtor's body and the bank establishes workhouses for those having difficulty paying. It's not for nothing that the novel's setting is described as "Neo-Victorian".
- The protagonist of Get Shorty, Chili Palmer is one of these and it's noted at one point how the loans he enforces have like 150% interest on them. He's pretty reasonable about it though, and an important part of his character is that he's such a confident badass in his mannerisms that people will play these debts without his needing to resort to physical violence.
- In the Dragaera novels, this was one of the areas of crime engaged in by Vlad Taltos while a member of the Jhereg, a fantasy equivalent of The Mafia. His organization is relatively reasonable, in that when someone is a business owner making an effort to pay, they are likely to be lenient about payment or else take over the business temporarily before using violence, although they are more than willing to break the kneecaps of recalcitrant debtors. It's suggested that the Jhereg are the source of loans for the common people, which is understandable given that the group associated with banking, the Orca, are less than trustworthy.
- Adrian Mole gets in this trouble once for his naivete and ends up several hundred thousand British pounds in debt.
- Piers Anthony's Xanth series, has literal sharks do this job; they, of course, charge an equally literal arm-and-leg minimum for their services.
- In the novel Inferno (Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle), loan sharks are condemned to Hell. This has some basis in the original The Divine Comedy, which depicts usury as a sin, in turn deriving this from the laws of The Bible. The protagonist, although generally opposed to the concept of eternal damnation, reflects that if anyone belongs in Hell, it's them.
- Troll mobster Chrysophrase provides this service. He's described as "having people's limbs torn off" as a penalty for non-payment; so again, owing him an arm and a leg can be quite literal.
- In Mort, when Alberto goes back to Ankh-Morpork after a 2000 year absence, he finds a small bar tab he had has been handed down, and has interest added. Subverted because of what Alberto does when he has the discussion over the ancient, now huge, bar tab.
- Emma Bovary, the title character of Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary, falls into an all devouring black hole of debt which ultimately destroys her by purchasing fine clothes, fabrics, furniture and general haberdashery 'on credit' from unscrupulous merchants - maybe more like the modern credit card debt for consumer items than loan sharking, but with the same disastrous, life-destroying results.
- In the Red Dwarf novelization, one character commits suicide after being fed his own nose by loan sharks who had generously given him a loan with a 3000% interest rate. The details on the interest rate, by the way, were contained in the microdot of an "i" in the closing line of the loan agreement.
- In Guy du Maupussant's short story "The Necklace", the young couple are compelled to deal with loan sharks to get the money to replace the lost necklace. It takes them ten years of scrimping and penny pinching to get out from under the debt. Only at the end do they learn that the necklace was actually just costume jewelry. The double sting? They'd bought the replacement themselves without ever asking the owner what the cost of the original lost one was.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, the Iron Bank of Braavos definitely has this reputation — which it is more than happy to use primarily to avoid too many unanticipated late payments and the resulting headaches. On learning that the crown has defaulted on its debts, however, Jon Snow considers that when princes default on ordinary banks, sure, the bankers starve; but, when they default on the Iron Bank, new princes mysteriously arise and overthrow them. After all, if the Bank never actually comes down on defaulters quite harshly to make a lesson out of them... As a result of the Lannisters' defaulting, a representative of the Iron Bank goes to find King Stannis Baratheon, presumably to offer him the financial aid he needs to claim the throne, traveling through harsh weather and ransoming prisoners to serve as a protective escort.
- Harn suffers from a case of them early on in The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor.
- Mrs Finucane in Angela's Ashes, who hires Frank to write threatening letters on her behalf.
- A tertiary character runs afoul of one of these in a Sweet Valley High novel.
- This is how Count Kalliovski of The Red Necklace gains power over people.
- Star Wars Legends:
- The Intergalactic Banking Clan is one of the corporate interests backing Count Dooku's Separatists during the Clone Wars. This Mega-Corp behaves like loan sharks on a galactic scale, charging steep interest rates and maintaining a private droid army to collect on defaulters.
- Star Wars: Kenobi shows some of Jabba the Hutt's other business interests on Tatooine, besides smuggling. After his friend Dannar's vaporator began producing incredibly delicious water via Miraculous Malfunction, local Rancher Orrin Gault invested heavily in that vaporator model and attempted to replicate the results. But he can't get the settings quite right, and his promised payoff to his creditors is not forthcoming. He spirals into his downfall from there. First, he goes into debt to Jabba's thugs to save off the bank, then starts embezzling from the Settlers' Call Fund, which the other settlers entrusted him with since he's so apparently rich and successful. When he can't get enough from that, he turns it into a Monster Protection Racket.
- Hannah Swensen: Max Turner in Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder is one, and died at the hands of someone who stood to lose their home if they couldn't pay up.
- The Big Bad of the Doctor Who Expanded Universe novel Borrowed Time offer their marks watches that literally allow them to borrow time, giving them extra hours in the day to complete their work and so on. They do, of course, have to pay it back eventually, at the very reasonable rate of one hour per hour per hour. Nobody thinks too hard about what the second "per hour" means, until the Doctor realises that everyone with a watch is ratcheting up more compound interest than they have lifespan.
- In his memoir Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt reveals that he was able to get out of a cycle of grinding poverty when, as a delivery boy, he was recruited by a female loan shark to write threatening letters for her (she was illiterate). One day, he arrived at her apartment and found her dead of some sort of natural causes. He used that opportunity to steal all the money he could find and also take her account book and destroy it, so that her debtors would be free of their debts.
- Niki Sanders of Heroes borrows money from a Las Vegas mob boss, Mr. Linderman, who sends thugs after her to retrieve it. In a twist, Linderman actually doesn't care much about the money. He's much more interested in having Niki's... interesting family under his influence.
- In a comedic subversion, Three's Company had Jack teaching a loan shark's lusty wife to cook because he couldn't pay back his loan.
- The Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Tabula Rasa" features a loan shark that menaces Spike. He also happens to be an actual demon shark guy. And the currency of the loan was kittens. After seeing her fighting prowess first hand, the loan shark offers Buffy some "freelance" debt collection work.
- The Blackadder episode "Money" revolves around Edmund having to pay back a loan he took from such a group - which is, as it happens, the Anglican Church - under penalty of imminent death if he doesn't ante up. He ultimately gets out of the debt by producing a painting of the debt collector, the Baby-Eating Bishop Of Bath And Wells, engaged in an unspecified perverse sex act after learning that he'll "do anything to anything".
- Making the unspecific act even more squicky is the fact that the other person involved was Percy.
- Michael Westen goes up against one in an episode of Burn Notice. He mentions that all loan sharks, while usually criminals, are ultimately businessmen. They aren't really interested in harming their clients, but just want their money. Michael naturally manages to use this trait to his advantage. The loan shark in question, while undeniably dangerous, actually comes off as fairly affable and more reasonable than most of Criminal Of The Week villains.
- In Squid Game, Loser Protagonist Gi-hun gets jumped by one he owes money to immediately after winning a big payday gambling and bragging to his daughter about the expensive dinner he was going to treat her to. He then bumps into a pickpocket while running from them, and when he fails to produce the winnings they strongarm him into signing away his physical rights in his own blood and threaten to harvest his organs if he misses another payment.
- Frequently show up on Law & Order when the murder victim-of-the-week turns out to have had money problems. They are almost never the real guilty party; expect to hear some variation of the line "Yeah, I killed him, that'll make him pay me!" as a reason why they may have beat the victim up, but not killed him.
- One particularly nasty variant took out life insurance policies on the debtor's family members. Anyone who claimed he couldn't pay his balance would be told that his family would be shot and he could then just mail them the check.
- A subversion happened in a 2000 episode where a stock scheme runs so bad that the Mafia comes to the Manhattan D.A.'s office to get their money back.
- There's also an episode in Criminal Intent where the loan shark is so impatient to get his money back that he kidnaps a guy's family, during which his hired kidnapper rapes one of the daughters. Big surprise? He's a former member of the Serbian Volunteer Guard,note though he tries to pass it off as a member of a Serbian infantry regiment. Too bad he didn't know that Goren knew what the letters on his tattoo stood for.
- In one episode of Baywatch, one of the life-savers loses money with gambling and has to get a loan with 20% cumulative interest. Per month.
- Used quite a lot on The Sopranos. It's all but stated that this is one of their main sources of income. (Whenever a character is talking about his "shy", it's his share of the loan sharking.)
- David Scatino is a local sporting goods store owner who gets in over his head in poker debts to Tony. Tony then "busts out" Scatino's store, buying random crap and exhausting its assets and lines of credit until it is forced into Chapter 7 bankruptcy (liquidation). (Scatino says in-universe it's going to be Chapter 11. While he may have intended to file for Chapter 11—reorganization of debts, with creditors to be repaid from future profits—we very clearly see the liquidators roll into the store, take everything, and put up a "for lease" sign, so we can be reasonably sure that even if he filed an 11, it was converted to a 7). This culminates when Tony, in a genius move, gives Meadow an SUV that he took as collateral from Scatino, her boyfriend's father.
This situation actually presents a very peculiar circumstance for a bankruptcy attorney: after the "bust-out", Scatino's debts must have been staggering, but in theory at least, all the crap Scatino's business "gave" for the mobsters to sell (or take for themselves) were a fraudulent transfer or an unfair preference, so David and/or the trustee would be well within their rights to sue Tony to make him give the money back, and Scatino would win given the amount of evidence in his favor (then again, who in their right mind sues a mobster?). The FBI could've also used this as a means to flip David.
- Christopher loaning to, beating, and ultimately murdering his Narcotics Anonymous sponsor.
- One of the thugs exploits Vito by borrowing money from him, then turning him in to the rival New York family that wanted him dead.
- Lorraine Calluzzo, one of the "Class of '04" released alongside Feech LaManna, Tony Blundetto, and Angelo Garepe in Season 5, is a noted "Lady Shylock" of the Lupertazzi family.
- Even Angie Bonpensiero gets in on the game, "putting money out on the street" after she gets ahold of Big Pussy's old body shop. (She doesn't do any beating herself, but it's obvious she controls guys who do).
- David Scatino is a local sporting goods store owner who gets in over his head in poker debts to Tony. Tony then "busts out" Scatino's store, buying random crap and exhausting its assets and lines of credit until it is forced into Chapter 7 bankruptcy (liquidation). (Scatino says in-universe it's going to be Chapter 11. While he may have intended to file for Chapter 11—reorganization of debts, with creditors to be repaid from future profits—we very clearly see the liquidators roll into the store, take everything, and put up a "for lease" sign, so we can be reasonably sure that even if he filed an 11, it was converted to a 7). This culminates when Tony, in a genius move, gives Meadow an SUV that he took as collateral from Scatino, her boyfriend's father.
- Hal goes to one on Malcolm in the Middle to pay Malcolm's college tuition, explaining that there's no way he can pay it back, but he's offering to be the guy who gets his thumbs broken as a lesson to everyone else. He quickly changes his mind once the loaner suggests that he could simply not give Hal the money and still break his legs.
- Mr. Lisgoe and his incompetent collectors in the third season of The League of Gentlemen.
- Inverted in Seinfeld. Kramer places a large bet with a bookie in Jerry's name and ends up winning a large amount of money (the precise figure is never revealed). Unfortunately, his bookie is very new to the business and cannot afford to cover the bet. Since Jerry never actually placed the bet at all, he is in no rush to get the money, but he keeps accidentally behaving like a debt collector. First he breaks the guy's thumbs (trying to help close his car trunk), then he locks him in his trunk (trying to fix the trunk), and in the end he seemingly plans a murder (Overheard while still stuck in the trunk). All of it (in true Seinfeld fashion) is unintentional and misinterpreted to turn Jerry into an unstoppable debt collector.
- Kenji from Deep Love borrows some money from some loan sharks to pay for his drug addiction, unfortunately he got fired from his job because of his drug addiction. It doesn't end well.
- An episode of WKRP in Cincinnati has the enforcer for this type of shark loitering in the station's lobby, waiting for loan-defaulter Johnny Fever to turn up. He was only given a vague description of what Johnny looks like, so of course Hilarity Ensues.
- One story in The Twilight Zone (1985) deals with an All Devouring Black Hole Credit Card, which literally repossesses your existence if you don't pay up.
- Red Dwarf had an Outland Revenue man in "Better Than Life" who was instructed to "to break both (Rimmer's) legs and pull off your thumbs-...sir" for some money Rimmer owed. The episode ends with the Outland Revenue man taking a hammer to Rimmer's hand. He was, however, virtual. Given that Outland Revenue appears to be based on the Real Life Inland Revenue, he was probably collecting taxes, not loans, but the trope is functionally the same.
- The Villain of the Week for the Leverage episode "The Bottle Job" was a dangerous loan shark with connections to the Irish Republican Army. He threatened to close down Nathan's favorite pub.
- Nate's father was also a loan shark as well, fueling some of Nate's anger with that mark.
- In the alternate timeline in the sixth season of Lost, Sayid's brother borrows money from a loan shark to open a second business. When he can't pay the high interest rate, he asks Sayid to use his "skills" to scare off the goons. Sayid refuses until his brother is beaten and hospitalized, at which point he meets with the loan shark... who turns out to be none other than this timeline's version of Martin Keamy.
- Joe McIntyre fell victim to one in Coronation Street.
- Paddy Maguire lends Yvonne Karib money in Shameless when banks do not deal with her.
- Jimmy from Third Watch gets visited by several throughout the seasons. One notable example is when a Loan Shark takes Jimmy's car and makes him walk his kid home, in the cold and dark.
- Hack had an episode where Mike, the protagonist becomes the personal driver of a local mob boss who is a Loan Shark. When a restaurant owner is about to be beaten for not paying back a loan, Mike saves the guy and the mob boss makes him personally responsible for collecting the debt. He tries to be reasonable but it turns out the the restaurant owner is actually Too Dumb to Live and does not intend to pay back the money. If Mike can't get the money, he will owe the mob boss and thus having to join the crime gang to avoid getting killed. Desperate he ends up threatening the restaurant owner with a bat till the guy give up the money. Disgusted he quits and goes back to being a taxi driver.
- An episode of Crusade had a loan shark trying to get the vig from Max Eilerson's ex-wife. He responded by using an alien artifact that was used to control prisoners, mentioning that it will kill on proximity to either him or the wife, or by a manual code entry.
- In Castle, some evidence quite often implicates loan sharks who the Victim of the Week had dealings with in one way or another, whenever they come up, but it's never them who's guilty of the episode's murder. All of the loan sharks of the show's universe apparently operate by the more sensible but less exciting rule, "I can't get my money back from [insert victim's name here] if I kill him/her," and just scare/threaten them with violence or rob them, but never go any further than that. In fact, when questioned, they typically state the victim had just paid them back with interest, which is a lead Beckett's team can investigate with a little Forensic Accounting.
- When she appeared as a guest on Have I Got News for You, TV's glamorous mathematician Carol Vorderman was given an unrelenting hard time by the other panelists because she was earning handsome fees endorsing a payday loan company that charged 6,000% interest. note
Hey, Carol. If you take a £500 loan from FirstPlus at 5,990% APR, how much do you end up paying back after six months, and how soon does the company grab the house you put up as security because you can't afford the repayments? Come on, you can do this in your head, you're good at maths, that's why they pay you to front their adverts!
- Once Upon a Time's Rumpelstiltskin AKA Mr. Gold, in addition to being a pawn broker and the landlord for pretty much the entire town, frequently operates as a particularly inflexible loan shark. Mr. Gold is not a man you want to be indebted to.
- A M*A*S*H episode has Charles borrow $50 from Sgt. Rizzo to purchase a valuable Chinese vase from a Korean vendor. When the week's payroll is eaten by Klinger's goat, he's forced to wait to repay, and Rizzo charges 100% interest per day.
- In Spartacus: Blood and Sand, a loan shark named Ovidius keeps pestering Batiatus to repay his debts. Eventually, Batiatus has enough and has the man and his family murdered.
- Doc Martin: It turns out that Bert has had to go to some loan sharks to keep his restaurant afloat.
- On One Life to Live, Max Holden ran into trouble with one of these. After foolishly borrowing $10,000 from him so that he could go gambling, Max was stunned when the man was not only incensed when he could only pay him back half, but demanded that he be paid an extra $2000 in interest on the remaining amount. Only then did it finally dawn on him that he was dealing with a Loan Shark. Even then, it still took the man not so subtly threatening him, his mistress, and finally his wife and kid (by showing up at their home) for him to scramble and come up with the money.
- Mario Condello was portrayed as such in Underbelly with the idea being played up to the point of beating down those he loans to so they cannot pay, take everything from them, and laughing as a teenager is Driven to Suicide. Both the man himself and his best friend Mick Gatto were very upset at how he appeared.
- In Game of Thrones the Iron Bank of Braavos is essentially described this way on a ''nation-state'' scale — you don't pay them back, they fund your enemies — but contrary to what that might imply, they really don't play favorites and only judge a debtor's ability to repay, so once Davos Seaworth claims that his king is actually more reliable than the one physically on the Iron Throne — essentially offering to be their collector — the bankers come around and agree to fund Davos' king.
- Brooklyn Nine-Nine: Jake goes to one in "The Apartment", the episode where his apartment is going on co-op and he is left hanging, as he hasn't paid his rent in years. It takes Gina to have to tell him that this is an extraordinarily bad idea; even if Jake is friends with the guy, he charges a 20% interest rate.
- One of crime boss Datak Tarr's "activities" in Defiance, in the pilot he has a man's wrist broken for bringing him a payment in public on the street. Though later he offers to forgive the debts of anyone who fights to defend the town from the Volge attack (*cheers*).
- Inspector George Gently: A pair of loan sharks force a woman who is Trapped by Gambling Debts into prostitution in "Gently Among Friends". Bacchus deals out a little street justice to scare them off.
- In one episode of Fuller House, Ramona and Jackson borrow money from Max, and Max forces them to be his servants to pay him back.
- Get Shorty: Miles and Louis primarily work as debt collectors for Amara's casino and criminal enterprises.
- The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel: In "Midway to Midtown," when Joel is trying to turn around his parents' garment factory to make it more efficient and profitable, he's pretty exasperated by their various corner-cutting methods. (Moishe is from a line of Jewish immigrants who are systemic Anti-Semitics; which contrasts with Joel, who has just come after quitting a corporate job with professional accountants.) At one point, Joel and his secretary Mrs. Moscowitz discover a ledger that Shirley says is the "special loans book".
Joel: "Special loans" book?
Moishe: [shrugs] What?
Shirley: That's personal.
Joel: Don't tell me you're borrowing money from those guys.
Moishe: Once in a while!
Joel: [facepalm] I can't believe this!
Moishe: You see it yourself, the machines break down. Those machines are expensive. How else are we supposed to get that kind of cash?
Joel: From a bank!
Moishe: What are you, a big shot?
Joel: Banks don't break your legs or throw you in a river!
Mrs. Moscowitz: [flipping pages] I'm seeing amounts here, I'm seeing names, but I'm not seeing any dates for when the loans are due.
Shirley: Oh, well, we know when the loans are due. A couple of guys break in in the middle of the night, they bust up some chairs and windows, and that's when we know the loan is due.
Moishe: Shirley, stop helping me...
- Last Week Tonight with John Oliver has an entire segment on the payday loan business and their negative impacts on their clients, and ends with Sarah Silverman doing a parody of celebrity sponsorship ads for payday loan companies in which she encourages viewers to do literally anything else to avoid dealing with payday loan services.
- Vera: While investigating a murder in "Black Ice", Vera and her team uncover a loan shark operation operating under the cover of a taxi firm. Many of the 'drivers' hanging the base are actually the loan shark's enforcers, known as 'dogs' by his clients. While the Victim of the Week was threatening to blow the whistle on his operation, the loan shark turns out not to be responsible for her murder, but still gets shut down.
- The Punisher: In the first episode of season 1, Lance, a worker who antagonizes Frank Castle regularly on a construction site in Brooklyn, is deeply in debt to a loan shark from the Gnucci crime family, who is threatening to break his legs and repossess his car. His buddy Paulie comes up with the idea that they should rob a poker game run by one of the Gnucci members and pay back the shylock with his own cash. The robbery goes awry as Donny Chavez, a naive newcomer who gets roped into the job, drops his wallet, allowing the Gnucci boss to see his driver's license. Lance and the others promptly take Donny back to the construction site with the intention of drowning him in the cement mixer, only to run into Frank, who promptly kills them all and saves Donny, then goes to the site of the poker game and kills the Gnucci boss as he and his men are arming up to go after Donny in retaliation for the robbery.
- Jessica Jones:
- One episode of season 1 sees Jessica get recruited by Luke to help him track down a guy who has gone ghost and is in debt to a local loan shark named Leonard Sirkes. Luke is tracking down Antoine because he's acquainted with someone who knows the bus driver who supposedly ran over Reva (actually killed by Jessica on Kilgrave's orders).
- In "AKA I Want Your Cray-Cray", Jessica's boyfriend Stirling Adams borrows money from a guy named Wyatt ostensibly to fund his own club, Club Alias. But it's clear that Stirling doesn't know anything about managing a club and just cares about getting laid. When Wyatt and his buddies fail to see a return on their investment, they come to Stirling demanding their money back. Jessica scares them off, but they agree to meet Stirling a few days later at a bar and offer to forgive his debts if he has Jessica accompany them on some heists. The whole exchange is witnessed by Jessica's mother, who subsequently beats Stirling to death in a fit of rage as soon as the gangsters leave. The police subsequently arrest the gangsters for the murder, since Stirling was last seen leaving the bar with them, and Jessica tells the cops about Wyatt's earlier visit to Stirling's apartment.
- Wilson Fisk's father borrows from a mob boss, Don Rigoletto, to fund his campaign for city council, with the expectation that Bill Fisk will pay back Rigoletto through kickbacks. Unfortunately, Bill's asshole nature costs him the election, and little Wilson kills him with a hammer shortly thereafter. Wilson and his mother then cut the body up and dump it, with it being implied that this is to avoid retribution from Rigoletto. Then again, the comics and some dialogue in season 1 show that Fisk afterwards went to work for Rigoletto, possibly to pay off his father's debts at first.
- In the present day, season 1 opens with Fisk having recently killed Rigoletto and taken over his loansharking rackets. James Wesley makes his introduction strong-arming a corrupt jail guard who owes $29,000 to the recently "retired" Rigoletto into carrying out a hit on Karen Page in exchange for his debts being forgiven, threatening the man's daughter to secure his cooperation. The hit fails, with Karen drawing blood from one of his eyes with her nails, so after having him bailed out, Fisk has him killed and his death staged to look like a suicide.
- A twisted example happens in season 3, when Fisk goes after Foggy's brother and parents to get leverage over Foggy. He does so by directing the various suppliers who have contracts with the Nelsons' butcher shop to stop doing business with them. After several months, the shop is driven into a tight financial spot, where they don't have enough collateral to get a loan from the bank. It is then that Fisk has his contacts at Red Lion National Bank reach out to Theo and his parents. The loan officer tricks them into cooking their books and making their assets look healthier than they really are, enabling the loan to go through without a hitch. With evidence of Foggy's family committing fraud to blackmail Foggy with, Fisk lets their old suppliers resume business with them. Things go by smoothly until Foggy begins campaigning for DA in response to Fisk's release from prison, and a viral video surfaces of him humiliating Blake Tower in a public forum while listing the various crimes Fisk has committed since he got out. In response to this, Fisk sends Felix Manning to Nelson's Meats and has him threaten to have Red Lion call the loan, and Foggy's family sent to prison for fraud, if Foggy doesn't recant the public claims he's been making about Fisk.
- Bud Bundy from Married... with Children one time foolishly fell into debt to a loan shark named Vito Capone since Bud really wanted to make a sexual exercise video to make money.
- S.W.A.T. (2017): In "Pride" Deac gets a loan from one who used to be one but went straight and now gives out legal loans (though they're very similar), to pay for an operation that his daughter needs. He gets it off the books however, and the result is much the same.
- One of the villains in Police Force is Loan Shark, a literal version of this trope — he's a great white shark with two bags of cash in his fins.
- In Bleak Expectations, Harry Biscuit borrows a swan from a "food lender" at 10% interest. Unfortunately, this turns out to mean 10% per second. Half an hour later, Harry owes 14 billion swans.note
- Later on, Pip Bin, in dire need of cash after burning down parliament house, is approached by a "greaser of financial wheels, a servant of the fiscal hinterland". Or as the man eventually admits, a moneylender. Played with, in that he offers Pip the money he needs loan-free, but tricks him into signing a form for the grossly inflated interest, fluctuating wildly and randomly in the loan shark's favour. It eventually results in his sister and brother-in law getting sent to debtor's prison, and his getting married to a Miss Talula Not-A-Man (the series Big Bad in disguise).
- Linda Smith's A Brief History of Timewasting has a spoof "debt consolidation" advert for a firm called Loan Guppies.
Customer: But how can I be sure you're not sharks?
Spokesman: Because we're called guppies.
Customer: I'm completely reassured.
- Shadowrun 4th Edition has a negative quality called "In Debt" that meant you start out owing a large sum of nuyen to a loan shark. If the debt isn't repaid in a certain amount of time, they send hitmen after you. It can be taken up to three times to increase just how much you owe. The problem with the quality is that it also gives you the money you'd borrowed to use in order to buy equipment during character creation. This means that you have extra character points to buy other traits with and serious extra cash for buying whatever gear you'd like, which meant that unless the GM screws you on runs you can easily earn enough to pay back the debt before it is due, making the quality a major Game-Breaker (it was also banned at league play for that reason).
- Older Than Steam: William Shakespeare used this in The Merchant of Venice. The loan shark in question, Shylock, is in fact one of the Trope Codifiers, although he's a more tragic example, at least by later interpretations.
- A Doll's House deconstructs the trope by having the final payment and signing off of the loan cause more trouble than the loan itself ever did, and the "loan shark", Krogstad, isn't just an evil and unidimensional Jerkass stock character but a fully realised human being with his own flaws, virtues and motivations.
- In The Little Foxes, the Hubbards are said to have "made their money charging awful interest to poor, ignorant niggers and cheating them on what they bought," which is why Birdie's mother never trusted them.
- In The Miser, Cléante has to borrow 15,000 francs from a moneylender, and learns he will pays the interest rate for him and for the loan shark this moneylender borrowed this sum himself, for a final interest of 25.5%. Cléante later learns this moneylender was Harpagon, his father.
- A rabbi with mobster loan shark connections is the Big Bad of The Shivah.
- In Pikmin 2, the President of Hocotate Freight has to go on the run from debt collectors after discovering that the company's loan came not from Happy Hocotate Savings & Loan, but from the building next door, the All-Devouring Black Hole Loan Sharks. Previously the Trope Namer.
- This trope actually drives the plot of the Mega Man Legends spinoff The Misadventures of Tron Bonne.
- You can take out a loan in Boktai and Boktai 2 from Dark Loans. If you can't pay it back in three days, you're kidnapped and forced to run on a treadmill until you've built up however much energy you owe.
- The game heavily advises against patronizing Dark Loans, however, and says that Dark Loans should be resorted to only once you've expended your last resort. The crazy-ass interest rates help drive the point home. Their only real benefit is being able to borrow anywhere at any time, even in the middle of a boss battle — the chances of such a scenario are low, but if you're out of ammo and recovery items halfway through fighting Sabata, suddenly their offer to fill your tank for an exorbitant fee sounds a lot nicer than giving up, reloading your save, farming items, and starting the fight from the beginning...
- It should also be noted that Dark Loans' interest rate is inversely proportional to how much UV radiation hits the sensor when you take out the loan. The more radiation hits the sensor, the lower the interest is.
- Apparently, Django didn't listen. In Lunar Knights, Laura of the Solar Bank tells you at one point that Dark Loans went bankrupt!
- Neither did his father Ringo. Though you don't get to hear the whole story, Otenko begins to tell you of a Noodle Incident implying Ringo got into some serious trouble from borrowing from these cretins, but Otenko stifles himself and brushes it off with a "nevermind" — as Ringo only recently died fighting the Immortals, telling the story would be in bad taste.
- While you could get a special weapon by running yourself deep in debt five times in Shinbok (the japan-only third Boktai game), as the loan shark believes you're purposely running into debt as an excuse to see her, this is most likely not what happened in Lunar Knights, as those two games are in different continuities.
- In Saints Row, the player can borrow money from a loan shark, with three days to pay it back. Once the time expires, two goons will start to chase the player. The longer you wait without paying back the loan or getting killed, the loan shark becomes more aggressive and eventually starts sending helicopters after you.
- Toontown Online has a literal version of this as a building-only Cashbot cog.
- In Grand Theft Auto IV, Roman is chased by loan sharks from a small-time Albanian gang due to his massive gambling debts, requiring the player character to evade them in a car chase and finally fight them, then chase down and kill their leader.
- The Albanians are actually just some of the people that Roman owes money to. The lion's share of his gambling debts are in the hands of Russian mobster Vlad Glebov, an arrogant thug with delusions of grandeur. While Vlad is more civil about collecting his debts than the Albanians, he is still an unpleasant sort; rather than resorting to upfront violence, Vlad uses Roman's debts as an excuse to intrude in Roman's life and bully him whenever he wants, sleep with his girlfriend Mallorie and strong arm his ex-soldier cousin Niko into collecting other debts for him. These last two actions are what ultimately get him killed.
- Animal Crossing has Tom Nook, via Memetic Mutation. In reality, Tom isn't much of a loan shark, as he'll gladly let you take your time to pay off your debt to him, he doesn't expect you to pay it all off at once, and the debt doesn't collect any interest. He'll even let you shop at his store while you're working to pay off the debt, and even hires you for a while when you first move in, so you can work off part of the debt, do some errands, and learn the ropes. However, once you pay off the debt, he'll offer building an extension to your home. And he won't take no for an answer. In summary, he's kindlier and more forgiving than most examples on this page, but he does have an annoying tendency to move the goalposts on you.
- A large percentage of the early parts of Atelier Judie: The Alchemist of Gramnad is spent paying off a very high debt incurred to one of your party members in exchange for a place to stay. He doesn't threaten Judie with violence, but he's not very nice about it either.
- In Fallout, there is a guy named Lorenzo Giovanni who runs the Friendly Loaning Company in the Hub. He claims to be a respectable businessman, but is actually a loan shark that has ties to the local crime lord. If the player doesn't pay off his debts, his two thugs attack him.
- To give it context, the loan has 10% daily interest, and must be repaid within 10 days. Considering how long it takes to travel from town to town, it's almost as if Lorenzo doesn't want you to pay it back.
- Byron Pikit in Planescape: Torment is a loan shark who has ties to the underground. In a sidequest you discover a fraud scheme in which he stole the documentation regarding a paid loan from a wealthy widow, resulting in her being sold into slavery with her assets seized. Even his accomplice is disgusted with this and provides you with the evidence required to free her and put him away.
- In the old Apple ][/TRS-80 game Taipan!, you can borrow money from Elder Brother Wu. The interest rate is quite high, and if you don't pay him back he'll eventually send thugs to beat you up.
- Amusingly, you can pay him back more than you owe, which causes you to have a negative debt—to which the same exorbitant interest rate is applied. He still sends thugs to beat you up, but with the money you can very quickly make this way, you'll be able to take them on.
- In Mario Party 2, in the final board called Bowser Land, there are the Bowser Banks. On every other board, if you pass by a bank, you must deposit 5 coins, but if you land on the bank, you get all the money everyone has deposited. The Bowser ones? Give away money to everyone passing by, then force whoever lands on the bank to pay back the total amount, and if you don't have enough, they will happily take a Star off you instead.
- The Exchange in Knights of the Old Republic, and Davik in particular. Exorbitant prices for basic necessities and Fantastic Racism seem to have most of the Lower City scared out of their mind. Can't pay? They'll have the hired thugs kill you if you're lucky, or sell your kid into slavery if you aren't (Ada in the Black Vulkar base and Juhani).
- Tear the Fairy of Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is basically a Loan Shark in all but name (despite how much she tries to deny this) but is willing to help Recette pay off her father's debts as a business advisor for her item shop. She'll still repossess her house if Recette fails though. And then she'll turn back time (to Day 2) and give Recette all of the stuff she got before her failure and give her another shot at it. As many as it takes.
- Tear actually discusses aspects of the trope during the opening. She mentions the finance company she represents would prefer to see the shop succeed and clear the debt that way, since not only would repossession displace a minor, but even without overheads they'd never get their capital back on the building alone. However, they're still on the brink of that last resort, as Recette's father is just that far in the hole.*
- Independence War 2: Edge of Chaos has Caleb Maas, who also doubles as a Corrupt Corporate Executive. He claims that Felix Johnston hasn't paid him back, although Felix himself objects and says that he's paid him ten times over. Maas apparently expected this and threatened to "close his account", by which he means "KILL HIM". As if that weren't enough, Felix's son Cal Johnston (protagonist and Player Character) inherits his father's debt (as shown in some main menu screen text) in addition to just becoming orphaned, and not too far into the story, Maas gets him imprisoned for life with ease, as the authorities don't even bother to question Maas... until he breaks out with some other fellow prisoners 15 years later and becomes a Space Pirate like his grandmother. Needless to say, it's VERY personal.
- Averted in the Murder, She Wrote PC game, where a loan shark interviewed in the first case was offended at the implication that he'd kill a debtor who hadn't paid him back, since that would prevent him from ever getting the money back, period.
- In Death Rally you can borrow money through a "loan shark" option (it's literally called that).
- The tutorial of Yakuza takes place in the offices of Peace Finance. According to Kazuma's informant, the loansharks have been extorting money from the locals in addition to accumulate a hefty debt themselves. When faced, the old man in charge refuses to pay, opting to call out his henchmen to beat up the Dragon of the Dojima Clan. That went as good as expected.
- Yakuza 4 introduces Shun Akiyama, who is one of the new playable characters. It's actually a subversion, as in contrast to other loan sharks, the company he works for, Sky Finance, barely charges any interest on their loans and don't slander the competition or bully people into buying loans. Akiyama often doesn't bother to collect or forgets about the loan. This makes them a lot more successful than other loan sharks, enough that a trio of guys from another company try and beat on him. Considering that Akiyama is just as much of a badass as the other characters of the series, it doesn't end well for them.
- Yakuza 5 has Koichi Takasugi, a loan shark affiliated with the Nagoya Yakuza family. He's breathing down Shinada's neck for money for his entire section of the game, and has the unsettling tendency to pop up the second Shinada gets his hands on any cash. Zig-zagged in that he's surprisingly patient, though he regularly pressures Shinada to sacrifice his hand or fingers to commit insurance fraud, and as the game goes on becomes an unexpected ally. It is eventually revealed that he actually has no real ties to the Yakuza, and simply carries himself with a certain swagger and makes empty threats to scare people into paying what they owe.
- Yakuza 0 starts with Kiryu being rented out to a loan shark in order to collect a debt for him. The end result of that job drives most of the plot of the game.
- Subverted in Startopia. During the third mission you are given the option of taking an energy loan from Arona Daal, owner of the local Honest John's Dealership. Given his other business practices most players would probably trust him with a loan as far as they could throw him, but his interest rates are actually rather sensible (you have to pay him back 110% of the loan sum at a later point in the mission and you'll be quits; you lose if you can't pay though). Of course, given you probably will be spending most of that loan in his store anyway...
- One Oolite OXP introduces the Brotherhood of the Black Monks, a body that combines this trope with Church Militant (since only religious bodies can lend on credit). They give out generous loans with exorbitant interest, then send out attack vessels after you once you default.
- The Federation of Gratuitous Space Battles is an alliance of Mega Corps, and all the other factions owe them money. At least, that's their part in the overall Excuse Plot of the game.
- The driving force behind the plot of Mafia II is Vito's father dying while his son was at war and leaving his family $2000 in debt to a loan shark, leading to Vito returning to his life of crime to try and pay it off. You later end up $50,000 in debt to the same loan shark after a botched attempt to get involved in the drug trade on the side.
- Torn City allows players to take out a loan from one of these guys in the red light district. He is actually pretty reasonable compared to most examples of this trope and the player can even steal from him as part of the pickpocketing crime.
- In Contrast, Johnny is in debt to a loan shark, whose goons break his finger to send the message that his plan to pay them back better succeed.
- Roland Ho of Sleeping Dogs is a Sun On Yee loan shark whom Wei temporarily works for. While he acts rather aloof and grumpy to Wei and doesn't show much compassion to his debtors, he comes off as just an old, jaded Triad, hardened by years of dealing with deadbeats and holdouts. He reveals what he really is in his final mission. After one of his repeat debtors is cornered and, unable to repay Roland, commits suicide, Roland orders Wei to shake down the man's newly-widowed wife for his life insurance payout. Wei is so disgusted by this that he cuts ties with Roland then and there.
- Bidiots, from The Jackbox Party Pack 2, has the honestly-named Predatory Loans company. If you're low on cash for buying art, they'll give you $1000 between rounds, but you'll have to pay back $1500 per loan at the end of the game (yep, that's a 50% interest rate). And most of their jingles are about what a bad idea it is to borrow money from them, with such examples as "Predatory Loans: We really hope you don't Read the Fine Print".
Jingle Singer: Pred-a-tor-y Loans! If you're talking to us, something's probably gone wrong!
- In Trauma Team, a loan shark appears in one of Naomi Kimishima's missions. He is not responsible for the death of the debtor, as he points out that he can't get his money back from a dead man. He lent the victim $100.000 which the victim used to buy a very expensive guitar which belonged to a famous musician. In an effort to pay back the loan, the victim then started to blackmail the "Raging Bomber" who paid the victim for making bomb threats by telephone as the "Revolutionary". This directly led to the victim targeted by the bomber himself. As for the loan shark himself, Naomi's FBI contact "Little Guy" says that the loan shark's business is "barely considered legal".
- Big Bang Age requires that you use B-stones to pay your allies and finance attacks on enemy territory. In the District Chapter, Zanma Gou gives you some B-stones every few turns. At the start of the National Chapter, he reveals where he was getting them from - the Yakuza, via their front "BS Finance Services". Until you finish paying off the loan, they take a percentage of your income for "interest". And every time you pay them, it uses up that turn's event trigger.
- In Stalker: Call of Pripyat, the Bandit leader in the Jupiter area, Jack, runs a loan business by pushing interests into his clients. One of his, Vano, is unable to pay off his debt and is being hunted by the Bandits, taking refuge from them in the train station currently being used by Duty and Freedom. The player can help Vano by either paying off his debt for him, scaring Jack into forgetting the debt, or if you're feeling up to it, wiping out Jack and the Bandits. Given that trying to pay off the debt will get you mugged on your way out, and killing the Bandits will net you Jack's rare Armsel semi-automatic shotgun and a ton of grenades, the third option is honestly the best one.
- Kokona's father is in serious debt to one in Yandere Simulator, to the point where Kokona has taken to Enjo Kosai in order to try to help him. Yandere-chan can help them in her own special way — namely by kidnapping the loan-shark's daughter, Musume, and forcing him to let all his customers go. The loan shark's name is, appropriately enough, "Ronshaku".
- In Battleborn, there is one among the clone Kingdom of Mikes. The aptly named Loan Shark Mike has chosen to be a loan shark as his lot in life. Unfortunately, he's not very good at it as he has completely misinterpreted the job name, taking it literally. He wears a shark costume over his clone combat armor and keeps bugging his fellow Mikes, constantly trying to loan his shark suit to them much to their annoyance.
- Mass Effect: Andromeda: The Outcasts of Kadara Port, in-between gang-warfare and protection rackets, also run a loan service. Ryder can stumble across the corpse of one particularly stupid person who took a loan from them, and didn't realise they'd want him to pay them back (you know, the definition of a loan). Amazingly, the Outcasts weren't what killed him.
- In Final Fantasy XIV, there's Rowena, who is the one selling the special items and such to Player Characters. She has a massive debt towards Gerolt because of his inability to control his drinking and is the main reason he helps the Players in creating their relic weapons. At the end of the Anima Weapon line, despite having been promised all his debt erased for helping make the weapon, she immediately reminds him that that was the debt before he went to make said weapon. It's so bad that, when the player character is helping with the reconstruction of Doma, one of the suggested comments over someone wanting to barter with Rowena is that they should barter their souls to a voidsent than her. And that's the serious suggestion.
- In the Shadowbringers expansion for the game, the Warrior of Light meets a woman who's clearly the Mirror Universe version of Rowena. She, like her reflection, plays her House of Splendors up as a thing of sincerest charity. The Warrior simply shakes their head, believing none of it.
- Leopold Strauss is a downplayed one in Red Dead Redemption II, but he lends money to rather desperate people and when they don't pay up, he sends Arthur Morgan, who won't be too shy about roughing up those people. Arthur despises him for targeting decent folks, and eventually throws him out of the Van der Linde gang. Collecting on the first debt is also what gets Arthur exposed to the tuberculosis that afflicts him in the last chapters of the game and possibly eventually kills him, depending on his karma.
- In Fairy Godmother Tycoon, loan sharks are literally sharks. The player can borrow money from them to finance their business enterprise.
- System Crash: The player's initial goal at the start of the Neon Noir campaign is to earn 10k credits to pay off a loan shark before she sends her goons to harvest the player's organs.
- Case 3 of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trials and Tribulations. This one has a twist: the loan shark of Tender Lender, Furio Tigre, is so vicious because he is in debt to the Cadaverini family mafia (Viola, from the top quote, being the darling daughter of the family, who needed some very expensive surgery for a car accident caused by Tigre. Ironically, the victim was killed because he won the lottery mere moments before the loan repayment was due. However, Tigre was more interested in the collateral for the loan (a very dangerous Computer Virus by the name of "MC Bomber"), as he could sell that virus on the black market for several million, while the loan was "just" several hundred grand and wouldn't cover Tigre's own debt. Tender Lender and Viola are alluded to again in case three of Ace Attorney Investigations. In fact, they're indirectly responsible for the murder in that case.
- The defendant in case three of The Great Ace Attorney is Magnus McGilded. He's a man with enough money to buy the city of London, but he regularly donates that money to public works projects like McGilded Park. He's also been accused of stabbing a man to death in an omnibus. During the trial, it turns out that McGilded loaned his fortune to various debtors, including the witness Bruce Fairplay, only to charge them at extremely high interest rates - classic Loan Shark behaviour. Although McGilded dies before the whole truth can come to light, it's also heavily implied that he was actually guilty, a rarity for this series. Later events outright confirm he was the murderer, dispelling any ambiguity about his actions. It also turns out that he threatened a witness to his crimes, a seventeen-year-old girl, into testifying and forging evidence in his favor.
- In one Strong Bad Email, "Other Days", Strong Bad receives a letter from Bubs, in which he threatens to turn him over to a "cut off your toes"-style collections agency if he does not immediately pay the $3.62 he owes. Strong Bad responds by nonchalantly burning the letter to an ash with a cigarette lighter.
- Zortic starts with Zortic being subtly threatened by a loan shark. The kicker?
- He looks and talks like Jabba the Hutt in a Mafioso suit, and
- he's in the student loan business.
- Kevin & Kell had a literal shark who traveled by plumbing, charged absurd interest rates, and threatened to kill Kevin if he missed the deadline. Coney met him during her potty training and promptly ate him.
- Kell's cousin borrowed from the mob. She's paid back 160% of the debt in less than a year but they still keep hounding her... because she's murdered all of the mob's best repo-men in self-defense and they want serious payback.
- MSF High: Miss Fenris is well known for this, anyone who cannot pay for a debt to her becomes a salesgirl in her employ until the debtor has paid off the debt.
- Sluggy Freelance had Riff end up owing a company $200,000 for cloning a toothbrush. Much seizing of property and other general shenanigans ensued.
- Living with Insanity had an example. While David doesn't act violent toward Alice, one has to wonder how she managed to rack up a debt that high after just a year.
- Naps in S.S.D.D. as part of his backstory turned to wiretapping celebrities to pay off his ever-increasing debts to a series of increasingly persistent loan sharks.
- Tower of God: Kim Lurker, his goons and his boss. They cause a lot of problems for Wangnan, Nia and originally, Lurker himself.
- In KateModern, Gavin and Tariq borrow money from a rather shady businessman named Terrence. When it becomes apparent that they have no means of paying him back, he becomes violent.
- The SuperMarioLogan series has The Loan Dolphin, a Dolphin whose job is a debt collector, though he's only an antagonist to those who don't repay their debts, as in "Bowser Junior's Lemonade Stand!", when Junior tries to get him to destroy Cody's lemonade stand, he doesn't do it because he thinks it looks nice.
- Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog: In "High Stakes Sonic", Smiley is a gambling scammer who serves as The Dragon to Dr. Robotnik. Bonus points for being an actual shark.
- Batman: The Animated Series: This is strongly implied to have been the reason Andrea's father had to uproot both himself and her and run to Europe in Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. Though he eventually recoups their money, they decide they've had enough of his stalling and send a certain hitman to kill him.
- Louie the Loan Shark in the Beany and Cecil episode "Monstrous Monster" is set up like one, but it turns out he's just literally a lone shark.
- Beetlejuice once got into a luxury war with the next-door snobs, using cartoon credit cards with abnormally high limits. Eventually the limits are reached, and the credit card company reveals themselves to be loan sharks with a direct portal to Care Bear Land, any monster's worst nightmare. Also, the interest rate is compounded per minute. The media laughs at both parties for getting ludicrously deep in debt, at which point they all realize they're high-level monsters and just beat their way out, starting with the reporter.
- In an episode of Cow and Chicken, the duo is relentlessly pursued by The Red Guy after Chicken uses a credit card found as a cereal prize to purchase a 25-cent pack of gum. Then he starts demanding the money almost immediately after they use the card.
- Family Guy:
- Stewie became one once. Brian made a rather safe bet on a boxing match, but by a twist of fate, he lost. Stewie spends most of the episode brutally beating Brian, using everything from glass shards to a flamethrower, until Brian gives up and agrees to pay.
- Shady loan sharks are again seen when Bonnie gives birth and Joe has to take a loan to cover the hospital expenses.
- Also in an episode where Peter buys a boat and gets a loan, using his house as collateral. Weeks before the loan is due, the "bank" takes most of the possessions and sells the house to another couple.
Loan Shark: You see, Mr. Griffin, what sets us apart from other banks is that other banks are banks...
- The Simpsons:
- Krusty winds up in hock to the Springfield Mafia repeatedly. On one memorable occasion, he is forced to open a clown college in an attempt to pay his debts, which Homer attends and then assumes Krusty's identity while the real one flees to change his appearance and live a new life. At the end of the episode, after Krusty has moved hell to placate the Mob, he finally pays his debt — $48.
- Krusty: "I THOUGHT THE GENERALS WERE DUE!" — That's right, Krusty bet against the Harlem Globetrotters.
- Inverted and Played for Laughs in another episode, when Homer uses Lisa's near-flawless ability to pick football winners as a means of bleeding his bookie, Moe, dry. When Marge finds out, she's very angry, and Homer protests that his football gambling is a victimless crime. The only victim is Moe, after all.
- In one later episode, Moe turns out to be one as well. When Homer, in dire financial straits, goes to him for money, Moe calmly states that since Homer has no collateral, he'll have to break his legs in advance. Homer quickly flees.
- Another episode played it straight when Homer goes to the employee credit union to get the money to buy Lisa a pony. The loan is personally handled by Mr. Burns:
Burns: By the way, are you familiar with our state's stringent usury laws?
Burns: Oh, silly me! I must have made up a word that doesn't exist! Just sign right here, and you'll get your money... [evil laughter]
- An episode of Sniz and Fondue on KaBlam! had Fondue borrowing a quarter from a loan shark to make a phone call, and he quickly accumulates a $200.00 debt because the guy charges "...200% interest— by the minute." The debt increases to $10,000.00 by the end of the episode, but fortunately the guys win a cash prize in a radio contest that they use to pay off the debt.
- Woody Woodpecker encounters this in the short The Loan Stranger, where his car crashes and goes kaput, so Woody manages to get a loan of one dollar from the nearby Sympathy Loan Company—but it later escalates to $365 in interest, not including the dollar he had yet to pay back. (justified, as Woody simply forgot to pay the loan back after 30 days.) The Loan Shark in question (who is a wolfnote ) tries everything in his power to get Woody to pay back the loan. Woody tricks him into calling off the loan when he thinks he smashed Woody's head—only for Woody to pop up and ask for a loan on his cuckoo clock, much to his chagrin.