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McLaughlin expresses shock at 177% interest rate

2 October, 2007

Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson, Mitchel McLaughlin MLA (South Antrim) has expressed his shock on learning that some moneylenders are charging interest rates of 177% - and it's legal.

Mitchel McLaughlin said;

"I was recently approached by an individual for advice on a financial situation. In the course of dealing with the request I made enquiries as to the interest rate being charged on some small loans of up to £500. I was shocked to find out that a particular lending company - Provident Personal Credit - that operates mainly in areas of high deprivation is charging a rate of 177%.

"I find this to be a form of exploitation of some of the most vulnerable in our society. But in the absence of the Assembly having power over our economy we are unable to take action against such practices. I will be pursuing this matter with my colleagues and asking the Consumer Council to look into the issue of interest rates with a view to lobbying the Financial Services Authority to impose a cap on the rates that can be applied. In the meantime I would strongly advise people to read the small print on loan applications to ascertain the level of interest they are signing up to." ENDS

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