Shoppers were spooked by zombies who took over Manchester city centre at the weekend – to warn of the dangers of turning to rip-off lenders.
Manchester Credit Union – a local loans and savings provider – marked the start of the first Greater Manchester Credit Union Awareness Week that runs from October 16-20 with a flashmob in the city centre.
Dancers dressed as zombies surprised shoppers with their routine, and then handed out sweets and information on the credit union.
The Halloween campaign theme – ‘Don’t get spooked by rip off lenders – GET LOCAL’, aims to raise awareness of the dangers of turning to payday and doorstep lenders, as well as using expensive credit cards.
Christine Moore, chief executive of Manchester Credit Union, based on Brazennose Street, said: “Too many people in Manchester are turning to pay-day lenders, expensive credit cards and doorstep lenders to help get them through each month or when in a financial crisis.
“But this can mean they end up in a cycle of debt that is not easy to break. Manchester Credit Union has joined forces with other credit unions across Greater Manchester to help combat this problem together, making sure people get a fair and ethical deal on a loan, while also encouraging saving.
“It is easy to join a local credit union, with the benefit of an online, phone, and email service as well as a central branch.
“We put people at the heart of everything that we do – unlike faceless national lenders.”
More than 20,000 people in Manchester are already members of Manchester Credit Union, currently borrowing a total value of £4,749,756 million in loans. Members currently hold savings of £6.19m with Manchester Credit Union.
Christine added: “It is great that thousands of people in Manchester are turning to us to borrow and save, keeping millions of pounds in the Manchester local economy.
“But there are thousands of more people out there we want to help, so I would urge them to get in touch to see how a local alternative to rip-off lenders could save hundreds of pounds.”
The Greater Manchester Credit Union Awareness Week is being supported by Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham.
He said: “Our community credit unions are the local, ethical alternative to the high-interest payday loan companies and loan sharks.
“Through their trusted lending and savings schemes, Greater Manchester credit unions keep £24 million within our local economy and support thousands of people across the city-region.
“In this Credit Union Awareness Week, I hope even more people in Greater Manchester will sign up to their local credit union and show that there is a real, local, alternative when it comes to saving and borrowing.”