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25 October 2013

Moneyline Wrexham to offer lifeline


A SERVICE helping people on low incomes to avoid becoming victims of loans sharks and assisting those facing money problems has come to Wrexham.

Moneyline Wrexham, will be officially opened on October 25, by local assembly member Lesley Griffiths.

Moneyline is a leading not for profit social enterprise set up to provide affordable loans and money advice to people traditionally ignored by mainstream lenders.

Moneyline Wrexham is part of Moneyline Cymru and the eighth outlet to open in Wales and the first in North Wales. Other outlets include Moneyline Swansea, Merthyr Tydfil, Cardiff, Pontypridd, Cwmbran, Bridgend and Newport.

Moneyline Cymru branches have issued over 13,000 loans to the value of more than £6m since it was set up in 2009. Customers are encouraged to open a savings account, with nearly a third (customers who people say can’t and won’t save) opting to do so - collectively saving a total of £900k.
The new Moneyline Wrexham outlet opened to the public at the start of September and to date has completed over 20 loans, loaned out over £5,000 to local people, with 75 per cent of customers also opening a savings account.
Moneyline Cymru was set up and part funded by Welsh Housing Associations. Nick Bennett, Group Chief Executive of Community Housing Cymru, (CHC) the membership body for housing associations in Wales said: “Moneyline Wrexham will offer a lifeline to those who need it. With the UK Government’s welfare reform changes, a rise in demand for high interest lenders and loan sharks is a real concern.”

Phil Starr, Manager of the Wrexham office added: “We are considerably cheaper than the high interest lenders currently available and our staff ensure that customers only borrow what they can afford. As with our other outlets, we are seeing phenomenal success with our savings accounts, with many people saving for the very first time.”

Around 40,000 people in Wales have been affected by the ‘Bedroom Tax’ introduced earlier this year, and will lose part of their housing benefit because they are deemed to have a ‘spare room’.
Welsh Government estimate around 42,500 people in Wales will lose an average of up to £83 per week following changes to the Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

Organisations such as Moneyline Wrexham, Credit Unions and other key partners are working hard to address issues brought about by welfare reform and to provide alternatives for people affected.
Nick Bennett added: “Moneyline Wrexham customers will be offered independent money advice – regardless if they have been offered a loan or not. The ‘Your Benefits are Changing’ money advisors, a project by CHC funded by the Big Lottery and Dwr Cymru has already advised over 4,000 customers and identified thousands of pounds of unclaimed benefits. They have also helped customers reduce their water arrears over £700k via the Dwr Cymru customer assistance fund.”

Mr Starr added: “The local housing associations and Wrexham Council have been very supportive with the expansion of Moneyline Cymru into Wrexham. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for all their support to date. I’m confident we will build strong working relationships with all our supporting partners and ensure there are real alternatives to door step lenders and illegal money lenders.”

-ends-

Editor’s notes:
The official launch will take place at 12 noon on the 25 October. Moneyline Wrexham is based at 5, Trinity Street, Wrexham LL1 1NH.

If you would like to attend, please get in touch asap.

For further information contact Edwina O’Hart on 029 20 674808, mobile 07791898497 [email protected]