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Be Loan Shark Aware!

My Home Finance & NHF campaign to raise awareness in the UK

London, 24 July 2015 | Economy

With 94% of people introduced to a loan shark by friends or family, national ‘Be Shark Aware’ campaign launches in the UK.

My Home Finance, with the support of the National Housing Federation, leading housing associations, and other supporting organisations, is today launching an anti-loan shark campaign – Be Shark Aware.

In recent years more people have turned to illegal lenders to access quick cash, but are often unprepared for the extortionate amounts they have to repay. Loan sharks have been known to charge 719,000% interest.

Tess Pendle, CEO of My Home Finance who is leading the Be Shark Aware campaign said: 

“Illegal money lenders or loan sharks, often target low income families and individuals when they are in desperate need of money. In life, there are times when people need money urgently – it can be when their car needs new tyres or if their washing machine breaks down. Some people are able to save money which they can access in an emergency but with over 10million in the UK who are financially excluded, there are many people who do not have savings that they can fall back on. These individuals sometimes resort to desperate measures but we need to tell everyone that there are alternatives to borrowing money from a loan shark.”

The findings revealed today for the launch of the Be Shark Aware campaign show that it is often a friend or family member (94%) that introduces someone to loan shark. With over a third of people taking a loan out through informal means in the last year, there is a huge number of illegal lenders across the country preying on those who are in financial need.

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The research also reveals that after people have borrowed money from a loan shark, over a third (38%) have had to resort to selling their belongings to keep up with the repayments. Around a third (32%) have had to go without food or household essentials, whilst nearly 1 in 5 have had to take out a further loan to juggle repayments.

David Orr, Chief Executive at the National Housing Federation said: 

“We hear about a lot of people who have become a victim to a loan shark. As the findings today show, people are often introduced to a loan shark by their friends or family - perhaps thinking that they are helping them out, when in fact they are doing the complete opposite.

Our Be Shark Aware campaign highlights the dangers of what a loan shark can do, as well as informing people that there are affordable lending options open to them, if they wish to take out a short term loan. By working with housing associations, local authorities and other charitable organisations across the country, we hope to reduce the number of people getting into severe debt and poverty through loan sharks.”

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