Lancashire credit union CLEVR Money has unveiled a £3million community loan fund and is calling on local people who are looking to borrow money to access the fund and avoid extortionate high interest repayments.
The fund has been created by members investing into their credit union savings accounts, with the objective of lending to people in the community to help them avoid unfair or high loan repayments from unscrupulous lenders. CLEVR also provides an alternative to the banks for anyone looking for a larger loan.
Mike Barry, chief executive of CLEVR Money, said: “Our credit union exists to provide local people with fair and affordable loans, as an alternative to the payday, doorstep and high street lenders who charge extortionate high interest rates.
“Anyone can apply for a credit union loan, from £200 to £15,000, and we lend to a significantly greater proportion of the community than the banks because we consider individual circumstances much more closely.
“I implore people to come to us first before they get trapped in a bad deal which leads to further debt. Anyone who knows or works with a family in need of a little extra help, someone wanting to deal with their credit card debt, or even just those people who want to replace their car or make home improvements, tell them to come to us first and help us to spend this £3million in our local community.”
Since its inception, CLEVR Money has lent more than £10million to local people in Blackpool, Fylde, Wyre and Preston. It has just under 5,000 members and has savings partnerships with many of the area’s major employers including councils, health and education providers, as well as numerous private businesses.
Mike added: “We’ve all heard horror stories of people paying back loans with interest rates in the thousands, but it’s simply not necessary for anyone to be taken advantage of like that in our community which has our credit union at their disposal.
“The money is literally sitting here waiting to be lent out, yet people are still getting loans with other lenders and paying over the odds because they just don’t know this fund exists. We have so many examples of saving people huge sums of money - hundreds even thousands of pounds - simply because they switched from a high interest rate with another lender, even a bank, to CLEVR Money."
Mike concluded: “As a not-for-profit lender, we have much lower operating costs than other organisations, and any profit we do make goes back to our members, not to third party shareholders. We also work closely with businesses to offer their employees ethical saving and affordable lending options, which helps us to reinvest back into the local community and tackle the damaging debt spiral that hurts families in our area. That’s what CLEVR Money is all about.”