CASH confiscated from loan sharks will be used to reward West Sussex residents who save through a local Credit Union.
The Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) are working with BOOM! Credit Union to launch a scheme to encourage residents to build up an emergency savings fund while also making them aware of the dangers of borrowing from loan sharks.
A joint initiative will see the team use proceeds of crime money – confiscated from convicted loan sharks – to sponsor new Credit Union accounts. The incentive is open to the first 50 people who join BOOM! Credit Union and save £25 a month for three consecutive months. Members who meet the saving requirements will receive a £25 boost directly into their Credit Union account.
Build up savings for a rainy day
The aim of the scheme is to encourage residents to build up savings for a rainy day and prevent them from having to turn to a loan shark to borrow emergency cash. Tony Quigley, Head of the Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “We’re pleased to be working with BOOM! Credit Union to launch this new incentive, which will see loan sharks’ cash being put to good use, to sponsor new credit union accounts.
“Loan sharks can have a horrific impact on our communities and should be avoided at all costs. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a loan shark, we urge you to seek help by contacting us on 0300 555 2222. Your call will be handled by a trained IMLT officer and all information will be treated in the strictest confidence.”
People trapped in spiral of debt
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; preying on struggling individuals and exploiting them for personal financial gain. 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.
Aradhana Kothari, from Business Growth at BOOM! Credit Union, said: “BOOM! Credit Union is a not-for-profit organisation serving over 6000 members. We provide ethical savings opportunities and affordable loans to people that find it difficult to obtain credit from high-street lenders.
“We would love to see new members save with us and sign up to earn their free £25. Whether it’s a family holiday you are looking forward to or you just want to build up an emergency savings fund, our Credit Union can provide a secure place for your savings.”
For more information on how to become a member of BOOM! Credit Union call 01903 228496 or visit www.boomcu.com.
This incentive is available to residents living in Adur, Arun, Chichester, Crawley, Horsham and Worthing areas.
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
Private message us on www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject