It’s been quite saddening to learn via the BBC of atrocious stories of how people have been charged ridiculous interest rates on loans from loan sharks. Interest that they could never practical pay, but have accepted out of desperation.
The stress that the resulting pressure of being chased for payments causes cannot readily be explained. However in what some may see us an extreme one young man ultimately committed suicide recently.
It’s therefore pleasing to remember that in Milton Keynes there is a credit union to help people who may otherwise have no other choice but to go to a loan shark.
I recently read the story below which clearly highlights how credit unions can help to transform lives!
Christina has been a member of Milton Keynes Credit Union (MKCU) for some time now. She told Kim Davis, MKCU, Development Officer about her experience of borrowing money with MKCU.
“I’d known about credit unions for a while so I searched on the internet to find one in Milton Keynes. I’d heard food things about credit unions from my mother, as she had been a member nearly 50 years ago when she lived in Canada. Mum had gone there to live and decided she wants to come back home. Using the local credit union, she saved up her fare home! Having heard such a positive story, I got in touch with MKCU and joined.
When I became a member, I wasn’t managing my money very well. I’d borrowed from a ‘doorstep lender’ and was paying a high interest rate. Even when I got a loan from my own bank to pay off an overdraft they charged me 50%in interest! I’d been with them over 20 years and expected more support, instead I got a really high interest rate.
I had no savings and no means of saving – no one wants you to save just a few pounds a month. Nowadays most banks require you to keep a certain amount of money in your account of you have to pay charges.
Since I joined Milton Keynes Credit Union, I’m still not great with money, but I’m improving. For the first time for years, I have some savings behind me – I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I borrowed money from MKCU to pay off my Provident loan, as the credit union charged me a lower interest rate, they talked to me about repaying too, we agreed a repayment which was affordable, and left me able to save too.
Borrowing with MKCU is different as I began to know some of the people there, it was a very personal service. I’m now on top of my repayments plus I’m building on my savings too – in fact, my savings are now greater than what I owe on my loan, which makes me feel good. With MKCU, the interest is charged on the decreasing balance so the more I repay, the less interest I’ll be charged, much better for me than doorstep lenders or my bank.
It’s good that money I’m saving also helps out other people in Milton Keynes with loans when they need it. You have to live or work in Milton Keynes to join the Credit Union so I know I’m helping other local people.
Now I’m looking to the future and planning a family holiday for my birthday – I’ll be using the Credit Union to save for this and it helps to know I’ve got the option to apply for a loan if I need it too”
As told to Kim Davies, Development Office. (story retold with permission from Milton Keynes Credit Union – ref: http://www.mkcreditunion.org.uk/ )