Credit where it’s due this Christmas
I have to admit I’d never really heard of the shopping phenomenon that is Black Friday until last week.
But the news coverage and some of the, quite frankly bizarre, footage we’ve seen of people literally fighting over the last item on the shelf really shows something quite worrying.
We all love a bargain; especially in the lead up to Christmas. Apparently, on average, we’ll all fork out more than £500 on festivities and present buying this year.
It’s easy to get carried away. But then I look at some of the tenants I’ve met in recent months. Struggling to pay their rent, not eating meals themselves so they can feed their children, relying on food parcels, struggling to find work.
|Affordable borrowing with the credit union|
The pressure to spend at Christmas - and to spend way beyond our means is there for everyone to see. Whether it’s scrapping over a bargain at Asda or desperately trying to find a few extra pounds from anywhere to get that present that you know that someone you care about really wants. And quite often it’s the really important bills, like rent, which suffer.
And that’s where pay day lenders make their money. They know that people are desperate and they know that people are borrowing more than they can afford. So they hand out the cash, at extortionate rates, and create what feels like a perpetual cycle of debt…a cycle, which for many tenants in Wolverhampton it feels near impossible to break.
Earlier today the Wolverhampton City Credit Union launched a campaign to get 10,000 members.
I know some people will say that encouraging people to take out loans full-stop is irresponsible. But borrowing money, sensibly and affordably is fine. That’s exactly what the credit union allows people to do. It allows them to access affordable credit - to buy things like school uniforms, their football season tickets or maybe even a holiday. Or to help them out when something goes wrong – like the car breaking down. It’s a community-based ethical bank who estimate that last year alone saved its 5,000+ members more than £655,000 compared to if they’d borrowed from the likes of Wonga.
I’m delighted that my colleagues at Wolverhampton Homes are saving with the credit union. Through our payroll, more than 10% of my colleagues pay in to a credit union account every month. As indeed do I and the Chair of our board, Sue Roberts MBE.
Christmas is an expensive time of the year. But if there’s one thing I’d like for Christmas this year, it’s to see the back of unscrupulous money lending.
Forget Black Friday bargains – opening an account with the credit union could just be the best investment you’ll make.