New money lending group to help struggling families
8:44am Friday 8th March 2013 in News
PEOPLE struggling with money no longer have to rely on expensive doorstep lenders — as a new ethical lending group has opened in Horwich.
Bolton’s Hoot Credit Union is owned and controlled by its members and aims to offer lower interest rates than traditional doorstep lenders.
The organisation’s expansion comes as the UK’s biggest payday lenders have been threatened with being put out of business after a damning report into the industry uncovered evidence of “widespread irresponsible lending”.
The Office of Fair Trading’s report is the culmination of a large-scale probe into the £2 billion payday sector.
The regulator has given the 50 biggest players a 12-week deadline to take “rapid action” and prove that they have cleaned up their act.
Any firms which fail to co-operate will have their licences revoked. Hoot, which is intended to be an alternative to the big lenders, provides loans of £100 to £5,000, and there are also savings accounts and schemes for items such as low-priced white goods. It has 14 sites across Bolton and has now opened its latest at Horwich Library in Jones Street, which will be open on Tuesdays from 1pm to 3pm.
It is the second in the area and follows the launch of a scheme in Brazley Community Centre, in Cedar Avenue, which opens on Wednesdays from 10am until noon.
Hoot volunteer co-ordinator Sam Marshall said: “A lot of people still seem to want to pay over-the-top inflated prices for loans on their doorsteps. Community collection sites like these in Horwich have been set up to bring Hoot’s services to community areas.
“All we need now is for people to come to us and stop using these loans on the doorstep.”
Hoot is currently running a special offer so anyone who joins at a community collection site will get £10 free credit.
Horwich North East councillor Kevin McKeon said: “It is good to have a financial institution we can trust — a mutual that puts the interests of its members above the accumulation of profit.
“Members can save with Hoot, confident that their money is safe and can be used to give loans to other members at a fair interest rate.” For a list of sites visit wise withmoney.org.uk or call 01204 365024.