‘Pay day loan sharks look forward to Christmas’ – Rogers
SDLP MLA Seán Rogers has voiced his concern that financial pressures could lead some families into a spiral of debt for 2014.
The South Down representative is fearful that unscrupulous money lenders and payday loans operators will prey on the vulnerable financial position of many families as they try and fund the Christmas holiday period.
Rogers explained to Newry Times, “I urge people to consider the implications of borrowing money from such lenders. Look at the small print and understand fully the amount of money you will have to repay. Be warned such legal loan sharks have been known to charge in excess of 4,000% APR.”
Highlighting the fact that financial pressures are being felt in many homes during this economic downturn the SDLP member said, “Unfortunately we have witnessed an increased number of people living in poverty. In particular financial pressure is making life more and more difficult for the working poor.
“Many people will identify with those who go out to work each day to pay high rates bills and mortgages on top of ever increasing petrol, heating fuel and food bills. These are the same people who have historically been financially self sufficient and they find it very difficult to seek help or advice.”
Rogers urged anyone planning to take out pay day loans to seek independent advice first. “Consideration should be given to establish if alternative options are available to manage any immediate financial shortage. The reality is if you are finding it difficult to stretch your finances then the last place you should be visiting is an unregulated lender.
“Offers of easy credit with extortionate rates of repayment will only serve to worsen any financial position. I therefore ask anyone considering such a loan to call one of the organisations listed below in an effort to avoid the spiralling debt caused by such unmanageable repayments”.
The SDLP MLA is hopeful the industry will see tighter regulations imposed in 2014 by the Financial Conduct Authority. He added, “Government are finally recognising the blight these lenders have on society and I remain hopeful that further work will be done to ensure stricter regulation of the industry.”
Some of the organisations/charities available to offer advice include: Debt Action NI, text ‘ACTION’ to 81025 or call Freephone 0800 917 4607 alternatively contact your local, Credit Union, Citizens Advice Bureau or St Vincent de Paul representative.
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