Sheffield has become the first city in the country to pioneer a new approach that provides a viable alternative to high-cost credit and door step loan companies, helping people escape the lure of unscrupulous lenders.
Sheffield Money – the city’s own one-stop money shop – opens its doors today on Monday 10 August. It has been set up by city leaders who joined forces to provide people with a new way to access affordable credit, with lower cost loans and finance.
Based at a shop in Cambridge Street, Sheffield Money operates as a broker service and is a not-for-profit business. It brings together a range of responsible companies providing access to loans, credit for white goods, savings and bank accounts together with independent money and debt advice, all under the Sheffield Money brand. This allows residents access to a range of products that might have otherwise not been available to them.
The broker model is different to any other affordable credit solution and the city is pioneering in its approach. It is the culmination of Sheffield Fairness Commission’s ambitious plans to help the city’s residents trapped using high-cost credit. There are an estimated 50,000 residents borrowing an average of £800 each, subject to extremely high interest rates (sometimes thousands of per cent APR) that can cause debts to spiral out of control.
Sheffield Money has been set up by a partnership led by the Sheffield Executive Board and supported by Sheffield City Council. It has been created for all residents in Sheffield, including those that use mainstream banking and finance providing loans up to £7,500 at competitive rates.
Sheffield City Council Leader, Councillor Julie Dore, said: “Payday and doorstep lenders have been ripping off and exploiting people most in need of credit, especially some of the most vulnerable people in our city, preying on their need for available credit and charging extortionate interest rates.
“People need a real alternative which will stop them being forced to go to these notorious lenders. That is why we have worked hard to create a new, ethical and affordable credit option by starting Sheffield Money.
“We need to stand up for people in Sheffield and Sheffield Money will send the message loud and clear that there is now a more ethical and affordable option available in our city.”
Rev Peter Bradley, Dean of Sheffield Cathedral and Chairman of Sheffield Money, said: “Sheffield Money is a bold and innovative solution to the problem of high-cost credit in our city.
“More people are struggling to make ends meet and for many, trapped in a cycle of borrowing more to cover extortionate loan repayments, this becomes a living nightmare.
“We have set up Sheffield Money to provide an alternative to this. It’s been remarkable to see the whole city come together to set it up and I’m very proud that Sheffield Money has been created by Sheffield people for Sheffield people.”
Rob Shearing, Sheffield Money’s Chief Executive, said: “Sheffield Money is completely different to any other affordable lender, as we act as a broker to match people to the best products for them.
“We’re here for everyone in Sheffield – from people who need a loan, need white goods, want money advice, or want to save with us.
“Our staff are here to give excellent advice about the best solution for our customers – if we can find a better option for someone than lending money, then we won’t lend. When we do lend, we won’t make the loan bigger or the term longer than it needs to be.”
Sheffield Money works with a range of providers, both local and national, including a Community Development Finance Institution, credit unions and white goods and bank accounts providers.
People can apply for Sheffield Money products in person, online or by phone.
For more information visit www.sheffieldmoney.co.uk, call 0114 399 5555 or pop into the branch at 70 Cambridge Street.