Birmingham Fair Money

Cash

Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Not-for-profit lenders in Birmingham are joining together under the brand “Birmingham Fair Money” to promote their services to residents who might otherwise resort to borrowing from the growing number of payday lenders and pawnbrokers in and around the city.

The lenders that have joined the scheme so far are Citysave, MONEYLINE, and Advance Credit Union Ltd (the new name for North Birmingham Community Credit Union).

The city council is very supportive of this initiative and is funding a cabin which will be placed prominently in High Street in Birmingham from 1st October to 24th December 2013 to provide a pop up loans shop.

Citysave is looking for volunteers to help keep the pop up shop open for as many hours as possible, including evenings and weekends.

Angela Clements, chief executive officer of Citysave, said:

“As the number of payday lenders, log book loans providers and pawnbrokers continues to grow in and around Birmingham, there is an urgent need for us to do something to challenge the predation on our local residents, who are ending up trapped in revolving high cost credit arrangements, paying very high fees and interest.

“These businesses are extracting millions from our local economy and destabilizing individual households across our city, with lending that is highly promoted. Reports from many leading debt advisers make it clear that the sector has considerable issues with irresponsible lending as well as sales incentives for staff to ‘sell up’.

“Citysave is keen to not only try to provide an alternative to high cost lending, but to re-finance those who are trapped in this type of debt. All the stakeholders in Birmingham Fair Money are responsible lenders and, where we can’t lend, we work closely with other agencies for the wider benefit of the applicant.”

Councillor John Cotton, the city’s cabinet member for social cohesion and equalities, has been personally involved and supportive of this initiative. He said:

“Fairbrum is a citywide movement, focused on building a fairer and more inclusive city. We know that Birmingham has tremendous strengths – its youthful population, its rich heritage and diversity, its spirit of innovation and enterprise – but there are also some real challenges.

“Inequalities, deprivation and poverty still hold many of our fellow citizens back. That’s what Fairbrum wants to change. Birmingham Fair Money is part of this campaign, promoting the services of not-for-profit personal loans organisations in our city.

“At this moment, we have high-cost lenders trading in Birmingham who lend at interest rates of well over 1000 per cent. If you then ad on the late payment and roll-over fees they charge, these loans inflate very quickly. The result is rapid and brutal. Many of these companies’ clients 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 and, as a membership organisation, credit unions such as Citysave are leading the way in tackling some of the most unacceptable elements of the high cost lending sector, offering an alternative.

“The Birmingham Fair Money brand helps to identify those lenders who are not-for-profit and who should give you a fair deal.”

If you are able to support this initiative by volunteering a few hours a week to help run the pop up shop, please contact Angela by email to ceo@citysave.org.uk.

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