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Loan shark event

This event provided information about unlicensed moneylenders - loan sharks.

Loan shark event

Loan shark event The free loan shark event held at the Surrey Sports Park is an example of how Project Aspire is helping some of the less advantaged communities in Guildford.

Crime does not pay, but it did pay for this event! Funding came from money seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act by the Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) based at Birmingham City Council.

One of our community wardens invited the IMLT to give a presentation about loan sharks. These are unlicensed moneylenders, who can make enormous profits lending to those with a poor credit rating. As well as charging extremely high interest rates, they sometimes use violence to extract repayments.

The IMLT shared the event with BOOM Credit Union and Christians Against Poverty (CAP). BOOM is an ethical lender who encourages all their borrowers to open a savings account with them. CAP is a national debt counselling service, perhaps the only one to make home visits to clients.

Key information

  • Loan sharks operate under the radar. Many borrowers, grateful to receive a loan, do not consider themselves to be victims of a criminal.

  • Contrastingly, BOOM interviews all its clients to ensure that they can manage the loan they ask for. It is a local and ethical option alternative in the credit industry.

  • The CAP office in Guildford is at the Westborough United Reformed Church. It will give free advice to any client in money difficulties regardless of their faith or lack of it.

  • The event helped IMLT, BOOM and CAP raise their profile and reach out to residents who could benefit from their help.

  • It's important to be aware that Loan Sharks are illegal, that there is a much better and accessible way of gaining credit and there is good, free financial advice available if people need it.

The event was well attended with community leaders from Westborough and Stoke wards, local councillors, clergy, Surrey Police and a representative from a local school as well. Officers from our housing rents and human resources teams also attended, alongside representatives from the Westborough and Park Barn Community Association. We hope the event will help spread the word across our communities -  that local help is available for just about any financial problem a resident can have.

Please help us spread the word and share the information on the following websites:

Birmingham City Council - Illegal money lenders

BOOM! Credit Union

Christians Against Poverty | Debt Counselling Charity