West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has teamed up with Loan Smart to stand against illegal loan sharks.
Loan Smart is a new charity focused on raising awareness of the scourge of illegal money lending and helping consumers to avoid falling into the clutches of illegal loan sharks, complementing the important work already being undertaken by the Illegal Money Lending Teams.
At the centre of this effort, Loan Smart has built a free-to-use website where people can check easily whether a lender is fully authorised by the FCA. The site also offers consumers practical advice on what to do next if they suspect someone is lending money illegally or where they can get proper help and advice. As well as the Illegal Money Lending Teams, Loan Smart is coordinating its efforts with a range of partners to ensure that the impact of the charity’s efforts is maximised, including of course the FCA.
Separately, Loan Smart are supporting a series of grassroots initiatives run by volunteers across the UK, each of which aims to engage local people in local communities to help spread the message about the dangers of illegal lenders. So far Loan Smart has despatched over 70 ‘Loan Smart Boxes’ to different locations around the UK that have been used for a range of awareness raising initiatives ranging from sharing information in a community centre in Leeds to a 24-man sponsored climb of Pen y Fan in Wales.
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:
“I am pleased to be supporting Loan Smart in helping to tackle illegal money lending in the UK.
“310,000 UK consumers are borrowing from illegal money lenders and as winter energy bills and Christmas approaches, it’s important that those struggling financially do not enter into further hardship by using illegal money lenders.
“People often do not realise it is illegal or know where to check if a lender is authorised by the FCA, so Loan Smart will help people verify the legitimacy of lenders.”
A Loan Smart spokesperson said:
“It is great to be up and running and we are excited to begin raising awareness through Loan Smart’s community events taking place around the country.
“We are grateful for Rosie Cooper MP’s support and look forward to working together as Loan Smart develops.”
The Loan Smart website www.loansmart.org.uk draws upon the FCA’s registration data to identify those firms that are fully authorised as a provider or broker of consumer credit in the UK.