With the rising cost of living, there are fears that more people will turn to loan sharks and worsen financial hardship.
That’s why Adam Male, CEO of Kent Savers Credit Union, believes this is a key time for people to learn about credit unions and get the help they need.
Adam shares one of the cases handled by IMLT, which illustrates just how much trouble loan sharks can cause.
To raise awareness of the dangers of using illegal moneylenders, Kent Savers Credit Union and Maidstone Borough Council (MBC) will be holding an event this Wednesday 16th February.
The council and credit union will also be joined by Kent Police, Kent County Council (KCC) and the National Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT).
Anyone who thinks they are a victim of loan sharking or have debt problems can seek advice and support.
Adam hopes to guide visitors and show them that loan sharks don’t always have to look dodgy to cause trouble.
He said: “Publishing can take any form. I think we all have our preconceptions of what a loan shark would look like, the baseball bat and all that kind of stuff.
“Talking to IMLT, I found out that they have sued GPs, playground mums, next-door neighbors, who charged people huge interest and really put them off. into financial trouble by lending them money illegally.
“So it’s not always how you think it might be.”
The credit union boss added that Kent Savers will be there to help anyone ‘find a better way’ and get advice if they’ve gotten themselves into a bad spot.
With the headlines about the cost of living crisis, Adam worries that more people are falling into the clutches of loan sharks as more and more people have joined his services.
He said: “I think just coming out of Covid and now that cost of living is going up, I think we’re going to see a real problem.
“It’s even more important that we have events like this to get the word out because people can fall into these traps. Not just loan sharks, but also payday lenders and high interest loans that put you in warmer water.
“I think this is a key time for people to know about credit unions. A lot of people just don’t know us. There’s a lot of stuff out there and a lot of help before you end up in this bad spot,” he added.
The event will take place from 10am to 2pm at Shepway Shop Parade, Northumberland Court, Northumberland Rd, Maidstone.
Jonathan Purle, deputy head of MBC, said: “Illegal money lenders prey on the vulnerable. Sometimes people may not realize they have received money from a loan shark until until they start to be threatened. We try to spread the word that there are other ways to get money if someone is desperate. Come and find out more.
You can contact Maidstone Borough Council for more information.