Wolves fans urged to join credit union
22 Apr 16
Wolverhampton City Credit Union is urging football fans to look to credit unions.
The call comes after the announcement that Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club will have The Money Shop as their shirt sponsors from next season. The Money Shop advertises a representative APR of 729% for a £200 loan paid over 3 months.
Wolverhampton City Credit Union Manager Matt Goulding fears the shirt sponsorship could tempt more people in the city to use high cost credit, risking more serious debt problems.
He said: “Levels of over-indebtedness in Wolverhampton and elsewhere in the Black Country are already high. This deal, by a football club that is deeply rooted in the community, only serves to legitimise payday loans.
“Wolves have said the sponsorship will give The Money Shop ‘a significant media platform’ to promote its message. In response, we have to do everything we can to counter that by directing people to organisations that are dedicated to helping those in debt. And that includes the region’s credit unions which are often the only source of affordable loans to families who are struggling to make ends meet.
“We’re calling on all credit unions, churches, religious groups, debt advice charities, elected members and community organisations to join forces to rebut the power of this sponsorship deal.”
Wolverhampton City Credit Union was founded in 2002, and has grown rapidly in recent years to serve 6,500 members, who have £2.2 million in savings and are borrowing £1.2 million at affordable rates from their local credit union.
Matt Goulding added that it was vital to raise awareness of credit unions. He said: “Credit unions are popular all over the world, especially in countries like Ireland and the US. They are growing fast in the UK too, enjoying support from across the political spectrum. But we must do much more to raise our profile so that credit unions – and not payday lenders – are the first port of call for people seeking loans.”
Following representations from senior local politicians as well as the credit union and other community organisations, Wolverhampton Wanderers FC has announced a range of measures in response to the criticism, including funding for a financial education project and advertising in the matchday programme for “charities and community organisations that focus on financial-related issues”.