“It is downright wrong and unfair that the Central Bank is still allowing interest rates of up to 287% to be legally charged by licensed money lenders.”

The Social Democrats have backed calls for the Central Bank to bring in strict controls on licensed money lenders to protect vulnerable consumers from being hit with exorbitant interest rates and charges.

The party’s Spokesperson on Consumer Affairs and Political Director Anne-Marie McNally said:

“More than 300,000 people use money lending firms – predominantly women from lower socio-economic backgrounds. These are people living in every day poverty who simply can’t make ends meet. Because they can’t turn to traditional lenders like banks, they are resorting to licensed money lenders to cover basic costs like back-to-school, Christmas or emergency household spending.

“If the Central Bank stands for anything, it has to step up here and protect these vulnerable consumers from being hit with wildly excessive interest rates and other charges that they have no option but to accept. It is downright wrong and unfair that the Central Bank is still allowing interest rates of up to 287% to be legally charged by home credit or catalogue companies.

Ms McNally said she strongly supported the recommendations of the report by the Centre for Co-operative Studies at UCC.

“Real efforts must be made to give people better and fairer options when it comes to borrowing. Credit Unions need to be part of that solution. We also need much more investment in financial literacy initiatives and a better roll-out of the personal microcredit scheme,” she added.

ENDS

14th November 2018