In the midst of Saturday's Eccles Makers Market, a zombie flashmob appeared creeping out shoppers with a chilling tale of financial horror.* Payday loans, doorstep lenders and expensive credit cards are haunting people's wallets with frightening rates of interest and scary debt...
'Don't get spooked by rip off lenders - get local' was the message to kick off Greater Manchester Credit Union Awareness Week, which runs until Friday and urges people to use the not-for-profit credit unions run in the interests of members rather than fat cats.
"Our community credit unions are the local, ethical alternative to the high-interest payday loan companies and loan sharks" says Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, who is backing the campaign "Through their trusted lending and savings schemes, Greater Manchester credit unions keep £24 million within our local economy and support thousands of people across the city-region.
"In this Credit Union Awareness Week, I hope even more people in Greater Manchester will sign up to their local credit union and show that there is a real, local, alternative when it comes to saving and borrowing" he adds.
Salford Credit Union, supported by Salford City Council which recently backed it with £170,000, already has over 3,500 members, currently borrowing a total value of £848,126 in loans. Members also currently hold savings of £2.38million with the Credit Union.
"Too many people in Salford are turning to pay day lenders, expensive credit cards and doorstep lenders to help get them through each month or when in a financial crisis" explains Sheila Murtagh, Chief Executive of Salford Credit Union "But this can mean they end up in a cycle of debt that is not easy to break.
"It is great that thousands of people in Salford are turning to us to borrow and save, keeping millions of pounds in the Salford local economy" she adds "But there are thousands of more people out there we want to help, so I would urge them to get in touch to see how a local alternative to rip-off lenders could save hundreds of pounds... We put people at the heart of everything that we do Ė unlike faceless national lenders."
Salford Credit Union has an online, phone and email service as well as a central branch at Brotherton House in Pendleton.
To find out more information see the website www.salfordcreditunion.com/
For Credit Union Awareness Week there's also a competition on the site to win a £100 restaurant voucher by answering a simple question - click here
* Watch the zombies dance around Eccles - see the video on YouTube - click here