Staff from several teams within Clarion Housing Group are now able to spot the signs of illegal money lending activity and help residents targeted by loan sharks thanks to specialist training.
Loan sharks are unregulated, often give cash loans without any paperwork and charge extortionate interest rates.
The training, run by the England Illegal Money Lending Team, showed a number of Clarion staff what signs to look out for and how to recognise the symptoms and effects of illegal money lending when dealing with residents, equipping them to deal with these situations appropriately and sensitively.
Mirca Morera, Financial Inclusion Officer at Clarion Futures, the charitable foundation of Clarion Housing Group, said: “Protecting our residents from illegal money lenders is really important because their actions can have a massive financial and emotional impact. We are pleased to support the work of the National Illegal Money Lending Team to prevent residents from falling victim to the unscrupulous activities of loan sharks.”
The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) work in partnership with local trading standards authorities and partner agencies to investigate and prosecute loan sharks.
The specialist team has successfully prosecuted nearly 400 people, written off over £75 million worth of illegal debt and helped more than 29,000 victims.
Tony Quigley, Head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team, said: “Loan sharks spell misery for borrowers, often preying on people at times in their lives when they’re particularly vulnerable, and we’re pleased to be working with Clarion Housing Group in cracking down on these criminals and protecting communities.
“We urge people to always check before they borrow to ensure they are only borrowing from legitimate lenders who are authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.”
Clarion residents can access support including money management and debt advice via trusted partners through Clarion Futures, the Group’s charitable foundation. Residents needing to borrow money can also do so in an affordable way thanks to Clarion’s partnership with Leeds Credit Union – a not-for-for-profit financial cooperative owned by its members. To find out more go to www.myclarionhousing.com/money.
To report a loan shark, call the 24-hour confidential helpline on 0300 555 2222 or complete an online form here.