While some news reports – notably from the BBC – have raised concerns that a clampdown on payday money lenders will lead to a resurgence in loan sharks, Plymouth City Council has teamed up with an unlikely partner to ensure the sharks don't get their teeth into local residents.
Loan sharks are unlicensed, illegal lenders targeting individuals and families struggling with debt. With unscrupulous individuals demanding interest of up to 700%, they can quickly cause debt problems to spiral. But Plymouth City Council are refusing to let them resurface.
According to the Plymouth Herald, the council has partnered with the National Marine Aquarium for the Say No To Fishy Finance campaign. Backed by the Illegal Money Lending Team, the campaign draws on the handy visual imagery of the aquarium's inhabitants to draw attention to the dangers faced by those who turn to loan sharks. The National Marine Aquarium is also offering prizes to residents who help spread the message on Twitter and Facebook by sharing posts with the #FishyFinance hashtag.
But what of the theory that the clampdown on licenced payday loan companies will leave some people with no choice but to seek out unscrupulous sharks?
Plymouth Council has been keen to highlight the alternatives available to those who are struggling with debt. Councillor Chris Penberthy told the Herald: “Credit Unions are a great way to both save and borrow money in an affordable way and without the high interest rates and crippling debts that make life unaffordable for many people.”
As well as raising awareness of options available to those struggling with debt, councils can also be proactive in reaching out to individuals in arrears with their payments. Debt collection isn't about demanding the repayment of funds, no matter what the personal impact. That's the realm of loan sharks. At Dukes Bailiffs, we believe in engaging with debtors to understand their situation, and set up payment plans that are fair and affordable.
To speak with a Dukes Bailiffs advisor about our services for local authorities, visit our Contact Us page.