A Wigan credit union resorted to ghoulish means to alert residents to the dangers of loan sharks.
Halloween came early as shoppers were rounded on by zombies in the town centre who were hammering home the message about not resorting to rip-off lenders.
Unify Credit Union – a local loans and savings provider – was marking Greater Manchester Credit Union Awareness Week with its alarming flashmob.
Dancers dressed as zombies surprised shoppers, and then handed out sweets and information on the credit union.
The seasonal campaign theme, Don’t get spooked by rip-off lenders – GET LOCAL, aims to raise awareness of the dangers of turning to payday and doorstep lenders, as well as using expensive credit cards.
Unify chief executive Angela Fishwick said: “Too many people in Wigan 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.
“But this can mean they end up in a cycle of debt that is not easy to break. Unify Credit Union has joined forces with other credit unions across Greater Manchester to help combat this problem together, making sure people get a fair and ethical deal on a loan, while also encouraging saving.
“It is easy to join a local credit union, with the benefit of an online, phone, and email service as well as a central branch. We put people at the heart of everything that we do – unlike faceless national lenders.”
Almost 10,000 people in Wigan are already members of Unify, currently borrowing a total value of £4.28m in loans. Members currently hold savings of £7.41m with the provider.
Angela added: “It is great that thousands of people in Wigan are turning to us to borrow and save, keeping millions of pounds in the Wigan local economy. 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.”
The awareness week is being supported by Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, himself a member of Unify. He said: “Our community credit unions are the local, ethical alternative to the high-interest payday loan companies and loan sharks.
“Through their trusted lending and savings schemes, Greater Manchester credit unions keep £24m 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.”