Merton Council backs credit union by blocking pay day loan sites on its computers
Merton Council has pledged to block high interest payday loan sites on all its computers to support the local credit union.
Anyone who lives or works in Merton is being encouraged to borrow through Credit Union instead of high interest money lender sites.
Council leader Stephen Alambritis said: "These are tough times for many people and we want to play our part in encouraging membership of the Croydon, Merton and Sutton Credit Union which enables people to invest for the benefit of their community and allows responsible borrowing at affordable rates for those who need a loan to see them through lean periods."
Croydon, Merton and Sutton Credit Union has a customer service desk at the civic centre in Morden every Wednesday from 10am to 3pm.
The council is also calling on all its employees to become members of the scheme themselves.
Councillor Alambritis added: "The good thing about the credit union is that it is banking by the people for the people."
As the Government has recently proposed to make financial literacy a statutory part of the National Curriculum, the council will also work with the borough’s schools to ensure the delivery of financial education to local students.
The credit union's interest rate is just 1.5 per cent, and it takes 10 days on average to process a loan application, though it can be done in two days.
This compares to interest rates on many payday loan sites which typically start at around 25 per cent. Their main advantage is the speed with which they are willing to make a loan.
Applicants for a loan from the credit union must be members and live within the borough. Membership costs £5 for those in employment and £1 for those on benefits.
Hunt, president of Croydon Merton & Sutton Credit Union, said said: "We are not very well-known and we need more publicity. We also need to improve our customer service and we invested in new computers, which have been installed this week."
At the moment its capital stands at £2m.
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