Loan shark fightback begins

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A dedicated band of volunteers are working to help prevent those with financial problems from becoming victims of loan sharks.

Lincolnshire Credit Union is a small non-profit organisation set up to provide ethical savings accounts and small loans of between £100 and £7,500 to people living in the county.

Volunteers hold regular drop-in sessions in the Deepings and are keen to raise awareness of the benefits of using a credit union over expensive payday lenders or loan sharks – which people who have been rejected by traditional High Street lenders sometimes turn to out of desperation.

Lead volunteer Carol Precey said: “We know loan sharks exist in this area, preying upon those who feel they have nowhere else to turn when in need of some money. People get threatened with broken bones if they don’t pay up, and the amounts owed can be multiplied unfairly.

“We also know that people sometimes use payday lenders to help when they are struggling - and this can be an extremely expensive method of borrowing.

“What the credit union wants to do is let people know there is an alternative. Even if people have chequered financial pasts, or have been turned down by mainstream lenders, we may be able to help.

“If you ask people in places like Liverpool, London or Ireland, everyone knows about credit unions. But for some reason they are not so well-known in Lincolnshire and we are trying to change that.”

MP for South Holland and The Deepings John Hayes visited the volunteers to demonstrate his support.

He said: “Credit unions have a proud history and are safe, honourable and easy to use. In days when we have loan sharks preying on the vulnerable, they’ve never been more important.

“I very much welcome the work that’s being done here. One of the most rewarding things about being an MP is helping people with problems. Sometimes these are financial, caused by family issues, the loss of a job or ill-health. When you use a credit union you know it’s run by local people who want you to succeed.”

Appointments can be made at a number of locations in the Deepings. Call 07518 776950 or email deepingscu@gmail.com