Ex-doorstep money lender’s ‘surprise move’ welcomed by Shropshire credit union

Shropshire’s not-for-profit savings and loans co-operative has warmly welcomed a ‘surprise move’ on the part of a former doorstep money lender.

Steve Barras
Steve Barras

Provident, which recently withdrew from the market, has announced it will be directing people affected by the closure of their home lending division to their local credit union.

Steve Barras, Just Credit Union business development officer, said: “Whilst Provident was a controversial high-cost lender we welcome their gesture to recommend credit unions as an alternative ethical source of lending.”

Until recently, Provident was Britain’s largest specialist subprime lender providing doorstep credit through a network of agents spanning over 140 years and had more than 380,000 customers.

Steve said: “Doorstep loans involve a lender visiting the borrower’s home to collect repayments, usually at very high rates of interest.

“For some time Provident had faced significant criticism for poor treatment of vulnerable customers.

“The company, along with several other subprime lenders, had faced accusations of leading people into debt and failing to check whether they could afford to make repayments.

“So whilst we don’t mourn the loss of Provident’s door to door lending nor their online business Satsuma which has also recently closed, we do welcome their acknowledgment of credit union integrity.

“There is, however, always the danger that their former customers – and others - may still be tempted to borrow from illegal money lenders or loan sharks.

“These charge extremely high rates of interest and often use intimidation and violence to collect the payments. We urge anyone who lives or works in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin to check out an ethical and affordable alternative.

“Just Credit Union is a not-for-profit savings and loans co-operative managed by its members and run for their mutual benefit and we will ensure any loans are affordable."

Just Credit Union is regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and all savings are protected in the same way as a bank.

People can find out more and join the credit union by visiting justcreditunion.org.

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