Back to News

Credit Unions Bid to Eliminate Loan Sharks gets Recognition

East Sussex Credit Union (ESCU) and Just Credit Union (JCU), has received recognition for its work in raising awareness of the dangers of borrowing from loan sharks.


#ABCUL #Credit Unions #Updates

Tuesday 23 January 2024

The acknowledgement came for its  vigorous efforts to rid the county of loan sharks has been recognised by England’s Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) in a certificate of accreditation.

The IMLT investigates and prosecutes illegal money lenders while supporting those who have borrowed money from a loan shark, while at the same time, raising awareness of the dangers of borrowing from unregulated lenders.

Steve Barras, Development Officer at JCU said: “We are delighted that our work to raise awareness of the dangers of borrowing from loan sharks has received national recognition in the award of a certificate of accreditation.

“This is particularly so in difficult financial times when people may be tempted to borrow from unregulated lenders. For not only are the interest rates extortionate, but loan sharks will use threats, intimidation and even violence to extract every penny they can.”

The IMLT estimate there are 310,000 people in debt to illegal money lenders in the UK. Working alongside credit unions across England, the IMLT has been able to raise awareness of the threats that loan sharks present to communities.

ESCU have scooped numerous awards for their anti-loan shark campaigns, with the latest being Partner Recognition accreditation from the IMLT.

The new accreditation programme recognises and rewards partners that work alongside IMLT to raise awareness of loan sharks, and their impact on local communities, and to create safer spaces for people to live and work.

ESCU launched an incentive scheme at the end of last year to encourage residents in Brighton to join and open a savings account. The first fifty people to join ESCU during their promotion and make at least three monthly payments into their account were guaranteed a £25 savings boost straight into their Credit Union account. The scheme was funded using proceeds of crime money, confiscated from convicted illegal money lenders.

Emma Norledge, Deputy CEO of East Sussex Credit Union said: “We are proud and honoured to have won these awards, highlighting our continued commitment to tackling loan sharks in communities and protecting vulnerable residents from being victims of illegal money lenders.

“We work closely with the IMLT to highlight the dangers of loan sharks and ensure residents are aware that there’s a legal, ethical and affordable alternative to illegal lending. We urge anyone who isn’t able access mainstream credit from the high street to think twice about their next move and consider using a credit union before a loan shark.”

Recent News

Read the latest news within the credit union sector, featuring stories from local credit unions, comments from the Association and the important talking points facing the sector across the globe.

Please contact for enquiries to our Communications team.