Birmingham Fair Finance: supporting reasonable lending

By on 30/09/2013 in Cllr Cotton, News

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

A central loans shop, known as 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 will be open to the public from Tuesday 1st October to Christmas Eve (Tuesday 24th Dec).

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, www.birminghamfairmoney.org.uk has details of all of the not-for-profit lenders involved, as well as:

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

This is part of the ongoing Financial Wellbeing of Birmingham campaign, which urges residents to 'Stand Up for Birmingham' against predatory lending and high finance costs.

Councillor John Cotton, Birmingham City Council Cabinet Member for Social Cohesion and Equalities, 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.”

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-mailreportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk

Private message us on www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject

ENDS

For more information contact Sarah-Jane Lynch, Illegal Money Lending Team communications officer, on 0121 693 1030 or 07881617119 or email sarah-jayne.lynch@birmingham.gov.uk.

To speak to the National Trading Standards Board with a more general enquiry please contact the Trading Standards Institute press office on 0845 6089430 or pressoffice@tsi.org.uk.

Notes to editors

The National Trading Standards Board (NTSB) is a group of senior and experienced local government heads of trading standards, representing all trading standards services across England and Wales. The Board has been set up by the Government as part of changes to the consumer protection landscape and an enhanced role for trading standards.

NTSB provides leadership influence, support and resources to help combat consumer and business detriment locally, regionally and nationally.

The Stop Loan Sharks Project consists of three Illegal money lending teams in England, Scotland and Wales.  The NTSB has responsibility for the England and Wales Illegal Money Lending Teams that are hosted by Birmingham City Council and Cardiff Council. There are separate arrangements in place in Scotland.

Nationally, Illegal Money Lending Teams have secured 266 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to more than 171 years-worth of custodial sentences. They have written off £40.3 million worth of illegal debt and helped over 22,000 people.

The Illegal Money Lending Teams in England and Wales work in partnership with local Trading Standards Authorities in their related countries. They consist of specialist officers who investigate and prosecute illegal money lending and related activity and LIAISE officers who support victims and raise awareness of the dangers of borrowing from illegal money lenders.

  • Birmingham Fair Money includes Citysave Credit Union; Advance Credit Union; Moneyline and Street UK.
  • Citysave Credit Union is the largest, and longest established community based credit union in the Midlands, and has a common bond of Birmingham. Winners of Active Partnerships award in 2012, Citysave is building a full range of ethical and affordable financial services and partnerships to better serve its members. Credit Unions are membership organisations, run by members for the benefit of members.

  • Moneyline will work from the Citysave branch in Waterloo Street, Birmingham, offering access to low value, short term personal loans with the option to save alongside borrowing. The Moneyline service will begin on 1st October and they have employed three staff; Graham Farley, Jodie Ricketts and Maureen Evans, who will be based in the branch Monday to Friday, 9am to 4:30pm. Moneyline were winners of the Responsible Lender of the Year award in 2012. www.elmline.co.uk

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