"Were excited to be able to host a free event for families to enjoy themselves during the summer holidays - and also find out about the risks of loan sharks. "
Dawn Cowderoy, Business Development Marketing
The event at Millgate Shopping Centre on Wednesday, August 11, organised by Manchester Credit Union, will be held between 10am-2pm, and includes craft activities, face painting and a chance to win a £25 voucher by taking part in the ‘draw a shark’ competition. There will also be opportunities for selfies with national Stop Loan Sharks mascot, Sid the Shark.
The credit union, which offers ethical savings and loans to Bury residents, has partnered with the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) to host the event and raise awareness of the risks of illegal money lending activity in the area.
The event has been funded by cash confiscated from convicted loan sharks under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA).
Information and advice will be on hand for people to learn more about the risks of using loan sharks, and anyone who signs up to become a member of Manchester Credit Union will have the chance to have £25 deposited in their account if they save regularly.
Dawn Cowderoy, Business Development and Marketing Manager at Manchester Credit Union, said: “We’re excited to be able to host a free event for families to enjoy themselves during the summer holidays - and also find out about the risks of loan sharks.
“We know that this time may be putting increased pressure on some people’s pockets - and we want to make sure loan sharks don’t take advantage and that people are aware of the affordable loans and ethical savings products they can expect from us."
Tony Quigley, head of specialist unit IMLT which investigates and prosecutes loan sharks, said: “We’re pleased to have teamed up with Manchester Credit Union to deliver this free family fun event and encourage people to steer away from using loan sharks.
“Loan sharks are a scourge on communities and don’t care about taking advantage of hard-working people. They can resort to extreme methods to enforce repayment. If you think there are loan sharks in your area, please report it so we can support those affected.”
Here are some of the tell-tale signs to look out for when dealing with loan sharks:
· They refuse to provide you with proper paperwork about your loan – you’re never sure what you owe, or the interest being charged.
· They refuse to give you information, such as the time left on the loan, or what you’ve repaid so far.
· They keep adding unfair amounts of interest to the amount you owe so it never goes down.
· If you miss payments, they’ll use scare tactics such as intimidation and threats to pressure you into paying them.
· They may take your things if you don’t pay what they want on time.
· They may withhold your possessions such as your bank card or passport until the debt is repaid.
· They may pretend to be your friend at first but threaten to tell others about the debt if you fail to pay back money on time.
Anyone who is concerned about loan shark activity in their area can report it in confidence to the Stop Loan Sharks team by calling 0300 555 2222 or using the live chat facility at www.stoploansharks.co.uk.
Credit unions are recommended as a safe, alternative lending and saving facility. To find out about Manchester Credit Union, visit: www.manchestercreditunion.co.uk