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Thanks for your understanding, and we hope to have full customer support available as soon as possible and wish you well during these challenging times.



Credit unions as a viable alternative to payday lenders

Posted by Rebecca Stains in Credit Crunch on 20 January 2015 - Rebecca worked as a Credit Analyst at checkmyfile until 2015

A new cap on payday loans was introduced in the New Year, meaning that all short-term credit will now capped at a daily rate of interest at 0.8%. Default charges cannot exceed £15 and the maximum amount paid back will not exceed twice what was borrowed.

But this will leave around 70,000 borrowers that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) estimates will no longer be able to access this type of credit. The worry is that these borrowers may turn to illegal loan sharks, says the payday loan industry body the Consumer Finance Association (CFA).

In the past it has been hard for credit unions to compete with payday lenders. The CFA has said that credit unions have not yet proved themselves as a viable alternative. In 2012, the Department for Work and Pensions published a report stating that the sector was ‘not financially sustainable’ because of high cost structures and low interest rates. However, since then the government has signed a £38 million deal with the Association of British Credit Unions (Abcul) to ‘modernise’ the sector. It has increased the monthly cap on interest rates they can charge from 2% to 3% this will help credit unions generate more income and have the ability to lend to members with a higher risk profile.

Unlike a building society or bank, members of a credit union share a common bond; something that unites them, such as a location or a trade.

An example of a credit union is Glasgow credit union. It was started 25 years ago for the employees of Glasgow City Council. It is now the largest in Britain, both in terms of assets and membership. With 36,000 members, 600 have used the union to take out a mortgage.

Another example is London Mutual; it is the only credit union openly advertising ‘payday loans’. First-time customers can borrow up to £400 on the same day at a 3% monthly interest rate. But unlike high street payday lenders, if a borrower took out £100 over 30 days, they would pay back only £103. This is well below the repayments that payday loans can charge, even under the new cap. With London Mutual are no additional fines for early or late repayment, but borrowers must be earning more than £12,000.

The Church of England has also launched ‘To Your Credit’ campaign to promote credit unions and other community finance organisations. It is promoting debt advice services and money skills courses. Sir Hector Sants, head of the FSA says, “To be fully effective the sector will have to grow both in terms of capacity and capability, and helping them to do this is a key element of the church’s initiative”.

Mark Lyonette, chief executive of Abcul, says that credit unions are not an immediate answer to payday lenders, but rather that it is now important to create a long-team, responsible alternative.

IMF concern for Britain and economic recovery

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is concerned that Britain’s reliance on credit cards and loans could stunt economic growth and put the past five years of recovery in jeopardy. The UK is currently on a warning list of countries that would be vulnerable to an economic crunch and the UK now has one of the highest household debt figures in the developed world.

Published on 17 Apr 2015 by Paul Anderson Riley

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UK economic growth rises to its highest rate since 2006

The UK economy expanded at a faster pace than expected last year, giving the coalition government a welcome boost ahead of May’s general election.

Published on 7 Apr 2015 by Simon Hadley

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UK inflation rate falls to zero in February

The rate of inflation hit 0% in February - the lowest reading since records began in 1988 according to the UK’s mechanism for recording inflation, the Consumer Prices Index (CPI). In January, the CPI recorded a reading of 0.3% and analysts expected it to drop to 0.1% in February. However, a continued supermarket price war, low oil prices and cheaper toys and books attributed to the greater than expected decrease.

Published on 26 Mar 2015 by Tom Line

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Wealthy people live longer, healthier lives

Women living in more wealthy areas can expect to see an additional healthy lifespan of almost 20 years to those living in deprived areas, research has found.

Published on 10 Mar 2015 by Kelly Luff

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Household income has returned to pre-recession levels

Household incomes are “finally strengthening” according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS), in spite of the slowest recovery post-recession in recorded history.

Published on 6 Mar 2015 by Ben Tumilty

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UK wages predicted to rise above inflation

For the first time in eight years we’ll see our wages rise above inflation, according to a study. The Ernst & Young ITEM Club report has predicted that there will be a pick-up in pay growth to 1.9% in 2015, amid low inflation.

Published on 24 Feb 2015 by Kelly Luff

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Global debt rises to $199tn

Global debt has risen by $57tn since 2007, a new study has found. The McKinsey Global Institute research found that the current worldwide debt stands at $199tn, the equivalent of 286% of GDP. Government debts are the single biggest contributor of the increase, with government indebtedness increasing by $25tn.

Published on 9 Feb 2015 by Kelly Luff

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UK unemployment continues to fall

Unemployment across the UK has fallen to its lowest level for more than six years. In the three months of September through to November 2014 the number of people out of work fell by 58,000 to 1.91m. Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the unemployment rate now stands at 5.8% whereas it was 7.1 % the same time last year.

Published on 23 Jan 2015 by Tom Line

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Falling inflation due to food and petrol prices

A fall in petrol prices and reducing supermarket bills has seen the UK inflation rate fall to the lowest level since records began in 1989. In November 2014 the Consumer Price Index (CPI) measured inflation at a rate of 1%, falling to half of this in December 2014 (0.5%). The CPI, the government’s preferred measure of inflation, has only been at 0.5% once before in May 2000. A fall to 0.7% was expected by economists but the fall to 0.5% took the city by surprise.

Published on 16 Jan 2015 by Paul Anderson Riley

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Construction sector slows

The UK economy is in a difficult position; so much rides on house prices and the construction of new homes and yet we are seeing a situation where many are unable to afford to pay either their mortgage or rent, let alone save for a home. So the construction industry is therefore finding itself in the midst of this problem.

Published on 7 Jan 2015 by Kelly Luff

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