At Enterprise Credit Union, we think it’s important to show the people behind the scenes, who make us who we are. We’ll be creating a series of blogs to celebrate our wonderful staff, volunteers, directors and members, starting with our newly appointed Director, Cath Wohlers.

“Since 2008, I’ve worked as an Operations Manager for the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT). IMLT are responsible for identifying, investigating and prosecuting illegal money lenders, commonly known as loan sharks. The team I manage help support people affected by this crime, as well as trying to stop people using loan sharks in the first place.

I first worked with credit unions as part of our “prevent” agenda. It’s all very well us saying “don’t use loan sharks” but we need a realistic alternative for people. The fabulous thing about credit unions is they treat people as individuals and work with them to help them – whether that’s by giving them a small loan to help them rebuild credit history, or encouraging savings. I am genuinely delighted to now be on the Board at Enterprise, who are clearly one of the best credit unions in the country (not that I’m biased!)

The current cost of living crisis is a worry in both my roles. Typically, people take 3 years to report a loan shark, so any borrowing that is happening at the moment, we may not see at work for a while. But loan sharks prey on vulnerability wherever they can find it, and the danger is that rising costs increase the strength of financial vulnerability and the number of people affected. I am pleased Enterprise Credit Union are reviewing the products they offer to make sure they are relevant and effective for people as we head into uncertain times.

Enterprise Credit Union, and lots of other credit unions across the country, are crucial at times like these. Whilst affordable loans provide a lifeline to people when they need it, savings accounts provide a safety net for the future. This is what sets credit unions apart from short-term lenders and mainstream banks – the credit union difference.

Whilst the cost of living crisis means times are tough at the moment, it’s organisations like ECU that show the way forward.”

Cath Wohlers