Having been brought together by Movement For Change, the Kilburn Fair Credit Campaign (KFCC) has its roots in a meeting of community minded people from both sides of Kilburn High Road (Brent and Camden) who were concerned at the affect on the local community of the proliferation of pay day loan shops and similar establishments within several hundred yards of each other and the lack of knowledge in the community of alternatives such as saving with credit unions. The loan outlets included:
– two Money Shops.
– Speedy Cash
– Cash converters.
– three pawnbrokers.
– a Cash Xchange
– an Instant Money Market
Initial members included a local vicar, chairs of tenants and residents’ associations, director of a local housing advice project, a member of Kilburn Older Voices Exchange, a resident with contacts with local credit unions and a worker form the local Somali community organisation.
Initial local research around the issue revealed that:
– mainstream banks on the high road were not making personal loans – one indicated that they were rejecting 95% of such applications.
– this meant that for many, the loan shops were the only available source of finance.
– pay day loans were OK so long as you knew what you were getting into and could repay them within the time arranged but interest rocketed if you failed to keep to the terms.
– loans were also being offered to those not in work and therefore unlikely to be able to repay in time
Some of the loan shops advertised widely – this included:
- posters on hoardings.
- leafleting of residential properties surrounding Kilburn High Road.
- paying both individuals and shops to bring in potential customers.
- promoting themselves as community orientated agencies especially for minority communities.
The campaign’s beliefs
Members of the campaign decided in the light of the research that any project set up:
– should be aimed at promoting fair credit, savings through credit unions and budgeting to reduce the influence of the pay day loan shops through competition rather than simply trying to close those establishments.
– needed to have some form of presence on Kilburn High Road and advertise itself widely.
– needed to be started as soon as possible rather than wait for answers to long winded funding procedures. In essence this meant that the project should be started on a volunteer basis with minimal funds.
Progress so far
The work undertaken by the campaign committee so far has resulted in:
– the enlistment of support from both Brent and Camden councils.
– liaison health workers linked to Camden and Islington councils and subsequently with Solutions4Health, tenants of the Healthy Heart Centre
– a mailing list for a large number of local supporters.
– the acquisition of rent free premises in the Healthy Heart Centre at weekends
Our current needs
We are currently in the process of trying to recruit volunteers to help run this new service during the initial period until we can assess uptake and apply for longer term funding . The volunteers are of two varieties:
a) experienced debt advisers to handle those contacting the service with immediate critical debt problems. (see appendix 1).
b) volunteers who can be trained to help those contacting the service to budget better, avoid loans by arranging sustainable payments by installments and begin to save through credit unions and other savings schemes. (see appendix 2).
Kilburn Fair Credit Campaign Committee
Jacky Peacock OBE Advice4Renters
Ajay Kumble Kingsgate Neighbourhood Watch
John Kilvington Somali Cultural Centre
Alastair Thom Vicar, St.Luke’s
Phil Oman Camden Credit Union
Phil Turner Ex Councillor
James King Ex Councillor
Jenni Goodfellow Corporate Accountant