Loan Sharks' money confiscated and used to sponsor credit union accounts
A NEW INCENTIVE has been launched in Merton as part of a scheme to encourage residents to start saving and warn them of the dangers of borrowing from loan sharks. The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) are working in partnership with CMS Credit Union to promote saving and highlight the legal alternatives to loan sharks available when borrowing money.
A joint initiative will see the team use proceeds of crime money, confiscated from convicted loan sharks, to sponsor new credit union accounts.
The first 50 people to join CMS Credit Union and save £10 per month for three consecutive months, will be awarded with a £25 savings boost straight into their credit union account.
This new incentive will encourage Merton residents to get into the habit of saving regularly and will prevent more people from having to turn to a loan shark to borrow money in an emergency.
Tony Quigley, Head of Service for the National Illegal Money Lending Team said:
“We are pleased to be working with CMS Credit Union to launch this new incentive, which will see loan sharks cash being put to good use, to sponsor new credit union accounts.
“We would always urge residents to look at borrowing money from safer and legal alternatives, such as their local credit union instead of using a loan shark.
“If you or someone you know has been a victim of a loan shark, the team are here to help on 0300 555 2222. Your call will be handled by a trained IMLT officer and all information will be treated in the strictest confidence.”
A loan shark is someone who lends money without the correct authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
Loan sharks often target low income and desperate families and act as though they are providing a community service by lending money to struggling individuals.
An estimated 310,000 households nationally are borrowing from illegal money lenders, many of whom charge exorbitant rates of interest to trap people into a spiral of debt. Many loan sharks will resort to bullying tactics, such as intimidation, threats and even violence to enforce repayment.
Michael Wilson, Manager at CMS Credit Union, said:
“CMS Credit Union have teamed up with the England Illegal Money Lending Team to raise awareness of the services that both organisations provide in order to support the local community.
“This incentive will invite new members to save and borrow ethically with a credit union; a legal and safer alternative to using loan sharks. This incentive will mean that new members will be awarded with a further boost to their savings after they have saved for the required period of 3 months.”
For more information on how to become a member of CMS Credit Union, call 020 8760 5711 or visit the website www.croydonplus.co.uk. Alternatively, residents can drop-in to speak to an advisor at Merton Civic Centre, London Road, Morden, SM4 5DX on Wednesdays between 10am and 2pm.
Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 378 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 325 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £71.9 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 26,500 people.
To report a loan shark: Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222; text a report to 078600 22116; visit the website www.stoploansharks.co.uk; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; send a private message us www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject
The National Illegal Money Lending Team deliver training to local authorities and community groups across the country. Please download a copy of the slides used at a training session delivered to staff at a community organisation in Merton: Illegal Money Lending: a short guide. In addition they produce a regular newsletter: Stop Loan Sharks newsletter.