The Big Local Roadshow rolled into East Coseley in the West Midlands on Thursday 17th May. There was a great turn-out from local residents from Big Local areas across the West Midlands. After an excellent introduction to East Coseley from Mrs Beatrice Boyling, we broke up into workshops including a large one on social investment.
We had a great discussion on the impact of predatory lending on local communities. The information that really struck a chord came from the Evaluation of the DWP’s Growth Fund for Credit Unions and CDFIs. Borrowers from credit unions and CDFI’s saved an average of £377 per £500 loan as against borrowers from doorstep and other sub-prime lenders. That means that if 100 residents in a local estate borrow from a doorstep lender, they will pay £37,700 more in interest and charges. That is a large amount of money which is being sucked out of the pockets of those who can’t afford. It is also being sucked out of the local community and local businesses.
Castle and Crystal Credit Union is based in Dudley, and offers savings facilities including Christmas and Holiday accounts. Their affordable loans come with free life assurance and no penalties for paying your loan off early. Your benefits and tax credits can be paid directly into your account and their Credit Union Prepaid Card can be topped up by a phone call. They work with the Co-operative Group to provide good quality, low cost electrical appliances and beds, which can be paid off through your credit union loan or savings. Sounds like a good deal to me!