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East London university students stage credit fair to tackle payday loans

09:55 25 February 2014

Students from the University of East London have organised a credit fair at their Docklands campus in response to the increasing use of payday loans.

The event, which is being run in conjunction with help from Movement for Change and London Citizens, will take place tomorrow as a group opt-in to membership of the credit union at a specially discounted rate.

Last year the university took the unprecedented step of banning advertising on the campus from payday lenders.

Troy Frazer, a student at the university, said: “I started using pay-day money lenders to cover the high costs of living in London, however this experience quickly spiralled out of control. This was because when I struggled to make the payments, I was advised by the pay-day money lenders to take out further loans to pay back the existing one. This has subsequently left me with no control over my financial position and also with a terrible credit rating. This has been made even worse by the constant harassment from the pay-day lenders.”

Robyn Pierce, one of the student leaders of the campaign, said: “The principal aim of the event is to introduce students to credit unions and our chosen partner London Community Credit Union (LCCU). LCCU is, in accordance with their common bond agreement, willing to take all UEL students, as well as university workers, into membership. Students at this institution and elsewhere are under increasing financial pressure and need to be able to access credit at fair rates.”

Campaigners who are fighting against predatory lending see this as the first step in a developing relationship with the Credit Union in which the opt-in to membership by university workers will cross-subsidise short term loans to students.

UEL recently delivered a 1000 signed petition to Newham Council to ban all payday loan advertising in the borough. The petition has now triggered a debate in Council chambers.

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