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Spotlight on loan sharks & finance companies urgently needed

Media Release: FIRST Union
Thursday 15 March, 2012

Spotlight on loan sharks & finance companies urgently needed

FIRST Union says that last night’s Fair Go programme serves as a stark reminder of why legislation is needed to curb loan sharks and other risky lenders.

Fair Go yesterday highlighted the tragic case of a sick and elderly women Marie Oppart, whose home was mortgaged (apparently without her knowledge) to guarantee another person’s loan

“We urgently need legislation both limiting the interest rates that loan sharks can charge, and legal obligations to lend ethically for all finance institutions,” FIRST Union’s Finance Secretary Andrew Casidy said.

“Last year, there was a huge community call for legislation providing greater protection for users of loan sharks and finance companies.”

“When taken to task by Fair Go, Credit Express, who brokered the loan, said that they are ‘careful to ensure clients fully understand documents’. In the same breath however, they also acknowledged that they never met Marie personally.”

“We need to know what steps Credit Express took to ensure Marie knew she was signing up to mortgage her property and not just provide a reference for the person getting the loan. Without meeting or talking to her, how could they satisfy themselves that she knew what she was signing?”

“This tragic situation highlights just how vulnerable consumers of this type of lending are in New Zealand and why the Government should be moving quickly to remedy the problems,” Andrew Casidy said.

Ends

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