Our campaigners made BrightHouse listen!
Church Action on Poverty is currently working with people who are trapped in poverty by their debts to high-cost lenders. We've organised a very productive series of roundtable meetings, where the lending companies meet with their customers and the Office of Fair Trading.
Progress towards responsible lending
The latest meeting happened on 6 May 2011, and we are very excited that we've now begun the work of drafting a Code for Responsible Lending, which would ensure that vulnerable people are treated more fairly by lenders. We've also made a lot of progress towards a system for lenders to share customer histories, which would help people on low incomes to build up a credit history and move on to more affordable forms of credit.
For this process to deliver real change for people on low incomes, we need all the ledning companies to take part. Unfortunately, BrightHouse, one of the biggest high-cost lending companies, refused to come to the meetings.
So we mobilised our campaigners! During April and May, supporters of Church Action on Poverty and Thrive went into overdrive. BrightHouse received hundreds of emails and phone calls, asking why they didn't want to be a responsible lender. Their store in Stockton-on-Tees was picketed by campaigners wearing comedy costumes. When the story was featured in the press, we finally received a promise from BrightHouse's boss, Leo McKee, that they will be coming to future roundtable meetings!
We want to say a big thankyou to all the campaigners who delivered this amazing result. Together we can make a difference, and Close the Gap between rich and poor.