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As part of a campaign against illegal money lenders and legal high interest lenders, a new loans service launches in Birmingham this week.

Citysave Credit Union and Moneyline have worked with Birmingham City Council’s Financial Inclusion Partnership to provide a central loans shop in the run up to Christmas.

The Cabin has been funded with proceeds of crime money taken from convicted illegal money lenders and the England Illegal Money Lending Team, a specialist enforcement team who are based in Birmingham will be highlighting the dangers of illegal loan sharks and encouraging anyone who has been a victim of this crime to come forward.

Birmingham Fair Money is an initiative driven by Citysave and Moneyline, and brings together a number of not for profit, community based lenders providing affordable and responsible lending.

As well as being able to visit the Cabin in Lower Bull Street for a loan, there is a website www.birminghamfairmoney.org.uk with details of all of the not for profit lenders involved, and this also has:

  • Income maximisation and Grant Search facility
  • Debt and money advice

This is part of the ongoing Financial Wellbeing of Birmingham Campaign and residents are being urged to Stand Up for Birmingham against predatory lending and high finance costs.

The Cabin will be officially launched on Wednesday 2nd October at Midday by Councillor John Cotton, Angela Clements from Citysave Credit Union, Dianne Burridge, CEO of Moneyline and Jacqui Kennedy Director of Regulation and Enforcement at Birmingham City Council.

It will be staffed by Citysave staff and community volunteers and open to the public from Tuesday 1st October to Christmas Eve (Tuesday 24th Dec).

Councillor John Cotton, Cabinet Member for Social Cohesion and Equalities at Birmingham City Council said:

“Birmingham Fair Money is a vital part of our drive to make our city fairer and to support hard pressed individuals and families.

At this moment, we have high cost lenders trading in Birmingham who lend at APR rates of well over 1,000%. If you then add on their late payment and roll over fees these loans inflate very quickly. The result is rapid and brutal. Many of the clients of these companies are trapped in a spiral of unfair debt from which it is difficult to escape.

It’s vital that we promote a sustainable, fair alternative. The Birmingham Fair Money brand helps people to identify lenders who are not-for-profit and who should give you a fair deal.”

Angela Clements, Chief Executive at CitySave said: “We are very concerned at the rapid and unchecked growth of high cost lending in Birmingham. We have been campaigning and challenging for some years the unnecessarily high interest and charges that create a spiralling debt which impacts household finances very hard.

“We have been promoting a service to allow residents to escape from the high cost credit trap they are in, and will continue to work with Cllr Cotton and Birmingham Council to improve the access to affordable credit, savings and transactional bank services in our city.

We are delighted that Moneyline, another high quality lender, has joined us in Birmingham, and we are grateful to have this cabin provided to allow us to reach more people in the run up to Christmas.” **

Moneyline’s CEO Diane Burridge said: “I am delighted that Moneyline and Citysave Credit Union are working together in partnership to widen the access to more affordable credit and savings for the people of Birmingham.

“In times where many families are struggling to meet basic living expenses and are often using high cost lenders as their only alternative, it is to significantly increase the number of people we can help to break the cycle of debt and poverty created by the reliance on doorstep and payday lending.”***

Jacqui Kennedy Director of Regulation and Enforcement in Birmingham, which includes the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said:“We are pleased that the proceeds of crime money, confiscated from criminals, can be used for such an important cause. Illegal loan sharks exploit and extort borrowers and resort to most horrendous and extreme methods to enforce their loans.

“With Christmas approaching we know that people may be tempted to turn to illegal loan sharks (20% of victims in past cases borrowed in the run up to the festive period) and also high interest legal lenders. Through the Cabin, in a central location we are able to make people aware of the safe and legal alternatives which they can use.

“As always we would encourage anyone who has been the victim of a loan shark to contact the Team so they can take action. Call 0300 555 2222 in confidence.”

 ***

For more information on the campaign: 

Visit www.birminghamfairmoney.org.uk and www.citysave.org.uk

*

To report a loan shark:

 Call the 24/7 confidential hotline 0300 555 2222

Text ‘loan shark + your message’ to 60003

E-mail reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk

Private message on www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject

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