Fifty community leaders from Lambeth Citizens took action against payday loan company Speedy Cash’s aggressive marketing policies. They joined Santa in delivering coal to Speedy Cash, who have been naughty this year, and giving presents to London Mutual Credit Union, who have been nice.
Lambeth Citizens are appalled by Speedy Cash’s marketing practices. As well as a sign saying ‘you are not aloan’” Speedy Cash offers £20 as a ‘reward’ for getting a friend to take out a payday loan.
Barbara Wilson, co-chair of Lambeth Citizens and a parishioner of Corpus Christi RC Church, Brixton, said:
“The community organising we do as part of Lambeth Citizens is about building relationships to empower the community. Speedy Cash’s policy is the opposite of that: it offers incentives for people to exploit their relationships and get their friends and family into debt this Christmas and we find that abhorrent.
It is Speedy Cash who are 'alone' and ‘a loan'.”
Lambeth Citizens gathered outside Speedy Cash with a banner saying ‘we are not alone’ and delivered coal to the payday lender along with a letter requesting a meeting with director Michael Charles to discuss their marketing practices.
Lambeth Citizens members also sang carols rewritten to be about Speedy Cash including:
Good tidings we bring,
To you and your kin,
We won't get our friends into debt,
So keep your £20
Speedy Cash's aggressive marketing policies have a long history in Lambeth. As well as having cuddly kangaroos handing out balloons and sweets to kids outside Brixton tube station, last Christmas Speedy Cash in Brixton was censured by the advertising standards agency for an advert that targeted children, offering them free photos with Santa and a Christmas treat.
After leaving Speedy Cash, Lambeth Citizens went to Acre Lane to deliver presents to the London Mutual Credit Union branch. As well as offering affordable and ethical loans, the credit union has accredited as a living wage employer. Members of Lambeth Citizens also handed out leaflets advertising the credit union’s online payday loan function.
Rev Stephen Sichel, Vicar of St Matthew’s Church, Brixton and a leader in Lambeth Citizens said:
“We understand the pressures at this time of year and that people might need extra money before Christmas but we want to minimise the risk of people in our communities getting into cycles of debt. The credit union provides a way to get affordable, ethical loans that are an alternative to payday loan companies such as Speedy Cash.
In the lead up to the general election, Citizens UK is campaigning for fines on banks and payday lenders to be used to set up a community finance fund to support initiatives such as credit unions.