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Social landlords take action against payday lenders

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Social landlords take action against payday lenders

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing and also in Communities, Finance

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Three Hampshire-based social landlords have come together to offer their tenants an alternative to payday and doorstep money lenders.

First Wessex, Radian and Sentinel Housing Association have joined forces with My Home Finance – a not for profit social business that offers loans to people excluded by traditional high street lenders.

“Tackling this issue together with our partners gives us more clout and it’s great news for our customers. Nationally payday loan companies issue around 10,500 short term loans a day - charging sky high interest rates with an average APR of 272% rising to as much as 5000%. There’s never been a greater need for a responsible alternative," said Sentinel’s operations director, Julian Chun.

My Home Finance typically charges an APR of 69.5% and works with customers to make sure they can afford the repayments.

And people who are unemployed or on benefits are not excluded, even if they have a poor credit history. Instead every applicant is treated as an individual and assessed on their current circumstances.

First Wessex's director of operations, Carol Williams, said: “We know from working with our customers that people often don’t realise the cost of the money that they’re borrowing or feel that they don’t have any other choice. This new initiative will offer a safer alternative to door-step lenders with more affordable repayments alongside offering other valuable help with finances, such as bank accounts and budgeting.“

Helen, a tenant of Sentinel who has been affected by massive APR rates charged by doorstep lenders, said: "I know from personal experience how easy it is to borrow money from doorstep lenders and for it to get out of control. I had no idea what I was letting myself in for when I took out my first loan. I thought I could easily afford the weekly repayments so I didn’t check the APR at the time. I couldn’t believe they were charging me a whopping 399%. I think it’s great that people like me will be able to borrow more cheaply and sensibly through My Home Finance.”

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