How crunched is your credit?
It’s not terribly heartening is it? After months of doom and gloom for every news outlet you care to sample about the credit crunch and impending economic doom, you spot this sign as you shamble towards work one morning…
Yes, that’s right, you’re eye’s aren’t deceiving you. That really is a 442% APR Bonus Loan from the sparkly new Oakam shop. Seems like the bonus firmly belongs to Oakam, rather than the person actually taking out the loan.
The other snap – excuse the rather iffy phone camera work – shows the more reasonably priced, Payday Loan at a mere 76.85% APR.
This particular shop opened a month ago, but it’s by no means the only money shop in the neighbourhood. It joins an independent outfit as well as The Money Shop chain. These only one reason these shops are opening and it’s because there’s enough demand form short-term finance at enormous rates.
I’m particularly concious of the costs of this type of loan as I’m volunteering at the local credit union, Hammersmith & Fulham Credit Union, HFCU to its friends, which has just been approved by the FSA. And the timing couldn’t be better.
Credit Unions are social enterprises, operated and owned by the people involved in it. To form one, the people involved must have a common-bond. In HFCU’s case, it’s open to anyone who lives or works in the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, but there’s lots of them all over the UK.
The movement sprung out of the Co-operative and Friendly Society movement. The best bit about them is that they’re regulated by the FSA, so you’re money is protected plus by law, the maximum interest rate is 2% per month, although most charge less, typically around 1%.
If you live or work in Hammersmith & Fulham, you can find out more or get involved by filling in the form on the website. If you want to find your local credit union, there’s a list on the ABCUL (credit union trade body) website.