Mr Robin Swann, the North Antrim Ulster Unionist Party Assembly and Chairman of the Stormont Committee for Employment and Learning, has called on the community to support their local credit unions rather than rely on so-called payday lenders.
Assemblyman Swann, who is also North Antrim UUP Chairman and Party Chief Whip, made his call following an announcement that fifteen payday lenders have thrown in the towel ahead of a deadline to prove they are up to scratch.
Mr Swann said: “The Office of Fair Trading said 14 of the 50 lenders it wrote to were leaving the market and another firm is no longer operating.
“The watchdog has been carrying out a probe into ‘deep-rooted’ problems within the industry, such as lenders encouraging struggling borrowers to roll over loans they cannot afford so that the debt balloons.
“Last month it referred the sector for a full-blown investigation by the Competition Commission. This news that 15 payday lenders are out or are going out of the market is to be warmly welcomed in these days of tough austerity cuts.
“The network of credit unions has a very strong financial reputation and I encourage people facing financial difficulties to consult their local credit union, but to definitely never to go near a loan shark or so-called payday lending company,” said Assemblyman Swann.
There are a number of Credit Unions operating successfully in the North Antrim area including Ballymoney, Dunloy, Rasharkin and Kilrea, Bushside, each one with a strong support from the communities they work within.