Manchester Credit Union is a financial co-operative, owned by its members and as such we are committed to helping our members to manage if they are struggling to meet loan repayments. We recognise that circumstances can change from time to time and that everyone has periods when it becomes hard to make ends meet.
We aim to try and support and guide our members when times are tough and offer a solution wherever possible. However, we recognise the difference between those who ‘can’t pay’ and ‘won’t pay’.
When members won’t pay, we have a duty to do everything we can to recover the debts as it is our members’ savings that have been lent out. This will include legal action where necessary along with direct deductions from salary.
However, we will work hard to support our members who find themselves in genuine financial difficulties.
What you can do:
- Get in touch as soon as you know that you might have difficulty making a payment.
- Use our budget planner to understand where and how you spend your money.
- Help us to assess how much you can realistically afford to repay.
- Keep to your new payment plan and let us know as soon as you can if this is becoming difficult.
- Choose a method of contacting us that you are most comfortable with, such as our website members area, email or telephone.
- Keep us updated with any new contact details.
- Respond quickly to any messages we may send.
- Seek the help of an advice agency if you have lots of debts or if you don’t think you can afford to pay anything.
What we will do:
- Discuss your circumstances or worries in a sympathetic and sensitive manner.
- Establish the extent of your difficulties and work with you to assess your options for repayment.
- Agree a reduced payment plan or re-negotiation
- Agree a review date that you are happy with.
- Refer you to an advice agency that will help you rather than make things worse.
At Manchester Credit Union, we are committed to supporting our members who experience money worries.
Whilst we are doing all we can to help our members, we recognise there may be other debts that you need help and advice with. If you are worried about debts or have missed payments, there is also free and independent debt advice available. The government sponsored MoneyHelper can help you find support via:
Beware of Loan Sharks
Manchester Credit Union also works with The England Illegal Money Lending Team to raise awareness of the dangers of loan sharks.
A loan shark is someone who lends money as a business without the correct permission from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). These criminals often give cash loans without any paperwork and charge extortionate interest rates.
They may offer what appears to be a quick-fix small loan, but in the long term, any money borrowed will come at a very high price and may lead to violence, threats and intimidation.
Some loan sharks have moved their activities online, using social media adverts and messages to prey on those who are most vulnerable. Remember, if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Never send money or give credit card, online account details or copies of personal documents to anyone you don't know or trust.
The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) is a national law enforcement unit set up in 2004. They investigate and prosecute illegal money lenders while supporting those who have borrowed money from a loan shark. The team have secured hundreds of prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity and helped thousands of people escape the clutches of illegal lenders.
Red flags to look out for when dealing with loan sharks:
- Cash loan or bank transfer with no paperwork, such as a credit agreement or record of payments.
- Refuse to give information about the loan, such as the interest rate or how much you owe.
- Forced to hand over your bank card and personal items as “security” on the loan.
- A debt which keeps growing even though you’re making payments.
- Lender turned nasty and threatened you when you couldn’t pay.
You are not in trouble if you have borrowed cash or have been paying back a loan from an illegal money lender, the loan shark is. They are the people committing a crime, not you.
You can call the 24-hour confidential helpline (0300 555 2222) for advice and support if you or someone you know has fallen victim to a loan shark. You can also report a loan shark using the confidential online form or by email. Live chat is available on the Stop Loan Sharks website between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).
Please remember that if you do need to borrow money, come and talk to us to see if we can help. We provide affordable rates with no hidden costs – we are a better and safer option than loan sharks.