Don’t Get Eaten By Sharks

Council advises residents to join the credit union

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Residents who need an extra bit of financial help can access a range of affordable and ethical loans thanks to the partnership between the council and London Plus Credit Union.

The Wandsworth Plus Credit Union was launched in February and its members have already amassed a fund worth more than £50,000. Anyone living or working in the borough can join and ask for an easy repayment loan.

The reminder comes amid reports that unscrupulous loan sharks are operating in the borough and targeting people on low incomes who are desperate for a one-off injection of cash. These short term loans are usually offered at crippling interest rates – and people who cannot keep up the repayments are often subject to intimidation or even threats of violence.

This is where credit unions can provide an affordable and ethical alternative. They are not-for-profit organisations that are owned by their members, with any profits being shared out fairly or reinvested to provide more or better services.

They manage personal savings accounts of up to £15,000 and these are protected in exactly the same way as bank and building society deposits.

Members are eligible for loans of between £50 and £7,500. Loans under £7,500 are often cheaper from a credit union than from anywhere else – banks, doorstep lenders or payday lenders – and there are no hidden charges like late or early repayment fees.

Many people working in the borough can have payments to the credit union made directly from their pay packet, making it easy to save regularly or repay a loan.

The council’s finance spokesman Guy Senior said: “The council launched Wandsworth Plus Credit Union with our partners London Plus because we wanted to make sure local people had a real choice of affordable and ethical savings and loans.

“Some people can find themselves excluded from mainstream financial products, such as bank loans, and can fall prey to payday lenders to help them pay their bills.

“And in cases of real hardship they may even turn to loan sharks with all the risks and dangers that entails.

“I’m delighted that more and more people living and working in Wandsworth are taking advantage of this convenient, affordable and safe source of savings and loans.”

The credit union is one of a package of measures launched recently by the council to help local people and business access affordable funding, including a business rates relief scheme for high street shops and businesses and the new Wandsworth Business Loan Fund.


September 22, 2014

September 22, 2014