Gloucestershire credit union to reduce loan shark use

A new Gloucestershire-wide credit union is aimed at encouraging more people to stay away from illegal money lenders who charge high rates of interest.

The service is accessible for people with a bad credit rating or those without a bank account.

Suzanne Wigmore, who is behind the new service, said the credit union movement had been "growing and growing".

Previously only residents of Gloucester, Cheltenham and Stroud had access to such a service.

'Pay back'

Ms Wigmore added that the teams targeting illegal money lending had referred "lots of people" to local credit unions which was "a really good example" of when they could be useful.

Di Martin, 57, used a credit union when her family ran into financial trouble after borrowing from a door-step lender in the Forest of Dean.

She said there was an "ever-growing" level of need - especially in rural areas - for the service which could loan realistic amounts.

"You're not offered money that you can't pay back and the interest rates are nothing like these loan sharks where you have to pay so much back," said Mrs Martin.

Credit unions run as a co-operative with users paying in to accrue a level of savings and taking out small loans at low interest rates.

More on this story

Around the BBC

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites