Loan sharks targeting vulnerable Cork people and businesses

Loan sharks targeting vulnerable Cork people and businesses

PEOPLE under financial pressure are being urged not to resort to money lenders ahead of the expected extra costs in the coming weeks.

Regional coordinator of St Vincent de Paul for the Cork and Kerry area, Gerry Garvey, made the plea as loans are being offered to individuals and businesses on advertising websites by moneylenders.

One such advertisement promises "relatively low interest rates" on loans from €5,000 to €20,000, ranging from business loan, personal loan, home loan, car loan, student loan and debt consolidation.

Another ad however is seeking a loan and claims to be from a Cork mother of three children who needs financial assistance for home improvement works.

Mr Garvey urged people who need assistance not to turn to moneylenders but to instead avail of schemes offered by local credit unions.

He said he expects people to be especially under financial pressure in the coming weeks with the ending of the Covid-19 payment, childcare costs as lockdown releases, and the costs associated with the return to school.

He said: "I would strongly discourage people against going to money lenders."

Earlier on in the Covid-19 pandemic, a nationwide leaflet drop was done by a money lending service.

SVP has frequently called for a statutory maximum cost of credit which can be charged by a moneylender and that consumers should have better access to sources of low-cost credit. This, the organisation says, could be achieved through the introduction of a statutory interest rate cap.

Last year, the Society also called for moneylenders to be forced to carry a 'tobacco style - high cost loans' warning on their advertising and literature.

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