People in Liverpool urged not to turn to loan sharks amid the cost-of-living crisis and instead go to credit unions for help. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool City Council is urging people to resist the lure of loan sharks as they look for ways to cope with the soaring cost-of-living.
Figures from the England Illegal Money Lending Team – a specialist national Trading Standards unit – claim one in 10 people turned to illegal money lenders to cover the cost of Christmas in 2021.
It adds that More than half of victims turned to illegal money lenders in order to pay for essentials such as utilities, food and fuel in the first half of 2022.
With energy prices rocketing and inflation at a 40-year high, there are fears even more people will end up in the clutches of loan sharks in the coming days and weeks. Often they charge exorbitant rates of interest and use threats to force repayment.
Now Liverpool City Council is urging residents not to turn to loan sharks and instead look at alternatives such as credit unions. They typically offer lower fees, higher savings rates and a more personalised approach to customer service for their members.
Deputy Mayor of Liverpool and Cabinet Member for Tackling Fairness and Poverty, Cllr Jane Corbett, said: “We know this is a really difficult time of year for many people as they feel the pressure of the cost-of-living crisis.
“There is a long and proud history of credit unions in the city. They are a great way to save, bank and borrow, typically offering lower fees, higher savings rates and a more personalised approach to customer service for their members.
“In addition, credit unions may offer lower interest rates on loans, particularly compared to payday or doorstep lenders. They are also suitable for people who may not be eligible for services from a high street lender.
“Debt can quickly spiral out of control and if you’re borrowing money, it’s important to check that your lender is genuine.
The post-Christmas period and January is going to be very difficult for thousands of people across the city. Local credit unions understand the pressures they are under and are run by local people, and are there to help and support them.”
Credit unions operating in Liverpool include:
Central Liverpool Credit Union
Phone: 0151 708 5515
Enterprise Credit Union
Phone: 0151 482 0177
Lodge Lane and District Credit Union
Phone: 0151 734 2561
Partners Credit Union
Phone: 0151 258 1014
Riverside Credit Union
Phone: 0151 448 0565
Liverpool City Council has updated its cost-of-living pages. Click here for more information. People needing help if they are victims of a loan shark can contact the England Illegal Money Lending team by clicking here.