Credit union a way to avoid the need to turn to loan sharks

Sutton’s Liberal Democrat Council is encouraging residents who need a short-term financial loan to turn to their local credit union instead of loan sharks and “payday-style” cash loans.

Sutton Trading Standards has recommended credit unions such as CroydonPlus as a far cheaper and safer way of taking our a loan than turning to illegal money lenders. 

Anyone aged 16 and over who lives or works in the boroughs of Sutton, Merton and Croydon can join CroydonPlus for a non-returnable fee of £5. CroydonPlus helps members to save regularly to allow them to be eligible borrow funds. However anyone receiving child benefit may be able to access a loan immediately.

Cllr Nick Emmerson, the Lib Dem Lead Councillor for Sutton Council’s Trading Standards, said: “Credit unions are set up to benefit their community and aim to help people take control of their finances by encouraging them to save what they can and borrow only what they can afford to repay.  Joining a credit union will enable residents to save and borrow responsibly and are a much cheaper alternative to payday loans and loan sharks.

“Such illegal money lenders typically strike just when people feel under real financial pressure. Loan sharks are predatory and should never be considered as an option for taking out a short-term loan as their interest rates can quickly become prohibitively expensive.

Nick Emmerson continued:  “With Christmas fast approaching, this time of year is notorious for people feeling tempted to turn to loan sharks and then falling prey to them. Instead we strongly recommend that residents needing a loan go to the CroydonPlus credit union instead and enquire about a family loan.“

Sutton Council Trading Standards has signed up to work with the Illegal Money Lending Team. In 2015 Illegal Money Lending Teams have helped more than 26,000 people.  They have secured more than 334 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity nationally, leading to nearly 212 years of custodial sentences. They have also written off more than £63million of illegal debt.

Illegal moneylending is a crime that affects an estimated 310,000 households across the UK.  Loans sharks typically befriend their borrowers before forcing them to pay back far above and beyond what they have borrowed and can afford. As the debts often cannot legally be enforced, in many cases the loan sharks will resort to threats, violence and other bullying and intimidation tactics.

Exorbitant extra amounts and interest payments are added at random, and loan sharks often take as security on the loans items including passports, bank cards and driving licences.

For information on how to report a loan shark or illegal money lending, visit the website www.gov.uk/report-loan-shark.

Anyone who believes they are a victim of a loan shark should call the dedicated confidential hotline on 0300 555 2222or email reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk 

Anyone who works for or receives a pension from the following employers can sign up to the CroydonPlus Credit Union’s payroll deduction scheme and start saving directly from their salary:

  • AmicusHorizon
  • Circle Housing
  • Croydon Merton & Sutton Credit Union
  • Croydon Care Solutions
  • CCHA
  • Croydon Council
  • First Security Guards Payroll
  • Good Shepherd School
  • Harris Academy
  • Interserve
  • Merton & Sutton Pensioner
  • Merton Council
  • Merton Teachers
  • Octavo
  • Ravens Wood School
  • St Cyprians
  • STEP Academy
  • Strictly Education
  • Sutton Council
  • Sutton Housing Partnership

More information about the CroydonPlus Credit Union can be found on www.sutton.gov.uk/CMS_creditunion.

To contact the CroydonPlus credit union, email cu-info@cmscu.co.uk

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