A DESPERATE mother-of-two who was entangled with eight high-interest payday loan companies is urging residents to look at ethical ways of borrowing as an alternative.
Louise Houghton has lived in Chelmsley Wood all her life and is now calling for a crackdown on loan sharks after personally suffering from the stress of borrowing from one payday loan company to pay off the other.
The 38-year-old’s money problems were so bad she was even forced to seek medical help during her lowest point – and her experiences have left her in a position where she’s now asking others to consider their actions before borrowing.
A business development manager by trade, Louise has since seeked the help of Street UK who have put her on the right tracks.
The non-for-profit company has already approved more than 31,000 loans in Birmingham and Solihull – totalling more than £15million over the past 16 years.
Speaking to The Observer, Louise said: “A few years ago I was in a lot of debt and personally it was a real struggle for me.
“It got to the point where my money problems were getting out of hand and there wasn’t really an awful lot I could do.
“I had no money, two children to care for and the weight of the world was on my shoulders – I just couldn’t cope.
“Payday loan companies are so dangerous and yet they continue to prey on vulnerable people who have no hope of making the repayments.”
It was only when Louise eventually turned to her family for support that she managed to deal with her financial pressures.
But the experience has had a long-term impact on the business development manager who said: “Street UK helped me tremendously and I first had an honest conversation with someone from the company about my financial situation.
“I now have my life back and no longer live in fear of threatening calls or letters.”
At an official launch ceremony, Martin Hockly, ceo of Street UK, said: “Every day we help people like Louise – our goal is to demonstrate that it is possible to provide access to credit online without having to charge the maximum rate allowed.”