Initiative will give 50 people £25 savings boost and raise awareness
The Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) are working with Rainbow Savers Credit Union and Waterlees Village councillors to launch the initiative to encourage residents to build up savings so they never have to turn to loan sharks in a financial emergency.
The 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 the Credit Union before July 29 2018 and save £5 per month for three consecutive months will qualify for a savings boost of £25.
Tony Quigley, head of the Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Rainbow Savers Credit Union to promote saving and protect residents against loan sharks in Wisbech.
“Loan sharks prey on the most vulnerable members in our communities. We are encouraging residents to only use safe and legitimate lenders like their local Credit Union. If you or someone you know have been the victim of a loan shark, we urge you to seek help by contacting us in confidence on 0300 5552222.”
Virgina and Michael Bucknor, District Councillors for Waterlees Village, said: “We understand how easy it is for people to fall into financial difficulties, particularly over Christmas, so this incentive is very timely. Some residents with limited budgets might not have access to things like bank accounts and credit, making their financial situation very stressful. This initiative launched by Rainbow Savers Credit Union and the Illegal Money Lending Team we hope will go some way to helping people get into the habit of saving small amounts regularly. People can join Rainbow Savers on Thursdays between 12pm and 2pm at the Oasis Community Centre, St Michael’s Avenue.
Sally Chicken, volunteer director at Rainbow Savers Credit Union, said: “The Credit Union is pleased to be working with the Illegal Money Lending Team to raise awareness of loan sharks and high-cost lending.
“Struggling families may be tempted to use a local loan shark at this time of year if they are feeling the pinch after Christmas. Here at Rainbow Savers
Credit Union, we deliver a range of financial services and can support members by offering safe savings, affordable loans and budgeting accounts.”
For more information on how to become a member of Rainbow Savers Credit Union, call 01733 686483 or visit http://www.rainbowsaver.co.uk/.
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.
Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured more than 380 prosecutions leading to nearly 328 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £72.5 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 27,000 people.
To report a loan shark: Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 5552222 or visit: www.stoploansharks.co.uk or private message via www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject