Credit union is ‘heartened’ by church’s support

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Larne Credit Union is hoping that publicity from the Archbishop of Canterbury’s crusade against payday loan firms will give them a boost.

It has been widely reported in the past week that Most Rev Justin Welby wants people to turn to credit union branches across the UK as an alternative to high-interest payday lenders.

And Arlene Clements, manger of the local credit union branch, has told the Times she was “heartened” by the Archbishops comments.

She added: “Whilst there might always be a market for short-term loans, the credit union movement, who currently are the only lenders in the UK and Ireland with a cap on their interest rates, would like to see the industry much more tightly regulated, with a cap on interest rates applied to licensed moneylenders, to prevent the exploitation of those who are in financial hardship.

“Larne Credit Union has witnessed the effects of borrowing from doorstep lenders, some of whom operate without license, and all without conscience.

“Unfortunately, people struggling financially are victims of the lure of instant cash with no questions asked, thinking they’ve found a solution to their problems, when in fact, they’ve just added to them.”

Arlene urged people considering taking out a loan to come along and talk to Larne Credit Union first.

She added: “We are committed to helping our members and providing this community with a safe place to save their money, and access to affordable credit if and when they should need it.”

To underline her point, Arlene compared the interest on a loan taken with the credit union to one taken with one of the leading payday loan companies.

She said: “A payday loan for just 18 days of £150 has an interest rate of 5853 per cent APR.

“Larne Credit Union can offer its members small loans, repayable over a short time period, that are affordable and fair, and without excess fees or charges.

“For example, borrowing £250 over six months will only cost £7.82 interest, with 12.68 per cent APR.

“The difference speaks for itself,” she concluded.