Credit union may be Fenland’s answer to combat loan sharks says report to Cabinet

IN a bid to combat loan sharks, Fenland District Council is set to approve the setting up of a credit union to provide cut price financial services.

The council wants the service – traditionally staffed by volunteers- to be delivered via its four one stop shops and through the Community House in Southwell Road, Wisbech.

Approval is being sought from Cabinet next Thursday and follows a report last year from trading standards and the national illegal money lending team. Their work concluded that there was a need within Fenland to combat illegal money lending.

Ross McGivern, the council’s community support officer, said Wisbech, and specifically Waterlees, was an area that needs to be targeted to raise awareness among residents of financial issues and illegal money lenders.

He will explain to councillors that credit unions are co-operative financial institutions which are non profit making, and are set up to deliver financial services to local communities.

“Members of a credit union can save money and access loans that are offered at low and competitive rates when compared with other lenders,” he says.

“This is important for Fenland as it can help people with low credit ratings or problems accessing affordable loans rather than make use of doorstep lenders and/or illegal money lenders, i.e. loan sharks.”

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Mr McGivern says there is also “an identified need to support residents living within our deprived communities where a lack of literacy and numeracy skills are a factor in a lack of engagement with financial services and providers.”

Fenland Council is expected to work in partnership with Rainbow Saver Anglia Credit Union Ltd, which has extensive experience in helping its members find loans and mortgage rescue schemes.

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