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Credit union speaks out against dangers of Preston loan sharks

Posted on - 4th October, 2023 - 8:00am | Author - | Posted in - Campaigns, Crime, People, Preston News
Stock image of cash Pic: Stux from Pixabay
Pic: Stux from Pixabay

A local credit union is speaking out after new research showed Preston residents are being badly affected by illegal lenders preying on people’s financial troubles.

CLEVR Money, a not-for-profit community bank with members across Lancashire, says it regularly hears stories of people being turned down by commercial lenders for credit to buy essential items, even when they could afford repayments.

The bank says this is increasingly leading people to feel their only option is a loan shark.

The research, carried out by Fair4All Finance, included interviews with illegal lenders in Preston, and the people who borrow from them.

Jackie Colebourne, COO at CLEVR Money, said: “We recently spoke to a member who thought he had found kindness when a friend lent him the money to fix his broken car, which was essential for getting him to work. That friend turned out to be a loan shark.

“Following a long period of threats and abuse, the member ended up with broken windows around his house. After dealing with the loan shark situation, he approached CLEVR Money for help repairing his home. We lent him money to repair the damages and he’s in a much better position now.”

Read more: Preston households with low incomes and health condition could receive warm homes funding

Fair4All’s research contains more stories like this, with Preston residents describing their benefits income being barely enough to feed their children and rising bills putting increased pressure on their families, as well as factors such as homelessness, unemployment and substance abuse leading them to the doors of illegal lenders.

Jackie continued: “There are cases where people didn’t realise there was anything wrong with the person they were borrowing from, just as had been the case with our member. This is the trick of loan sharks, they’ll start off friendly but then if you can’t pay, there’s trouble.”

The Illegal Money Lending Team England will be running #StopLoanSharks week from 24 to 31 October.

To help protect against illegal lenders, the Stop Loan Sharks campaign sets six questions to ask about including did they offer you a cash loan, did they not give you paperwork, and are you scared of people finding out.

Credit Unions can often lend to those who have been rejected by mainstream lenders. In addition, Payroll Schemes enable people to save directly from their salary. For more information, visit the Find Your Credit Union website.

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