Stop Loan Sharks Scotland Charter Mark

The Scottish Illegal Money Lending Unit launched the Stop Loan Sharks Scotland Charter Mark in December 2020. The first recipients of the award were housing, care and property management company Wheatley Group and StepChange debt charity in recognition of their commitment in supporting and promoting the work of the SIMLU and for taking a zero-tolerance stance on illegal money lending within their communities.

The organisations have also pledged to work in partnership with the SIMLU to increase their reach within communities and to increase the confidence of residents to enable them to report illegal loan shark activity safely.

The Loan Shark Charter Mark was launched to strengthen the SIMLU’s partnerships with other organisations that are key to tackling illegal money lending. We can only make sure that there is a zero-tolerance approach to this type of lending by working closely with agencies that provide advice and support on a daily basis.

The aim of the Charter Mark is to create a network of organisations actively seeking to uncover and tackle illegal lending, but most importantly, that network will help to stop people from ever using loan sharks in the first place.

It is vitally important to create an environment where people feel that they can report illegal lenders without any personal risk to themselves – this can only be done through close relationships with frontline agencies.

If your organisation would be interested in signing up to the Charter Mark or if you would like more information, please get in touch. In a period of great financial uncertainty, it is important that we take all the steps we can to stop people from borrowing from loan sharks and getting trapped in a cycle of debt and intimidation.

To find out more about how to sign your organisation up to the Stop Loan Sharks Charter Mark email us or call 0800 074 0878.

Recipients of the Charter Mark

Wheatley Group (December 2020)

“We’re all too aware of the impact illegal money lending has on people in our communities and as a result we have been working with Trading Standards Scotland to raise awareness of its dangers for the last two years.
That has involved informing people about the signs and risks of illegal money lending; signposting them to how to report it; and supporting our customers who become affected to access safer forms of finance. It is one of the many ways we are helping our tenants at Wheatley to lead safer lives and we’re delighted this work has been recognised with one of the first Charter Mark accreditations by Trading Standards Scotland.”

Alex Adrain, Managing Director of Wheatley 360, part of Wheatley Group

StepChange (December 2020)

“We’re very pleased to be a recipient of the Charter Mark. We know the damaging impact of illegal money lending on individuals and communities.

“The Illegal Money Lending Unit carries out vital work in addressing the pernicious and criminal activity of illegal lending, which all too often takes advantage of vulnerable households facing the greatest levels of financial need.”

Sharon Bell, Head of StepChange Debt Charity Scotland

Grampian Regional Equality Council (GREC) (August 2021)

“GREC was so grateful for the opportunity to work with the SIMLU over the course of the last year. The funding we received allowed us to carry out vital work to prevent loan sharks targeting local minority communities through our Aberdeen AIM project.

“We were able to provide group training sessions as well as one-to-one support and advice for individuals who were facing financial hardship or exclusion, which could leave them vulnerable to illegal money lending.

“Although the project is now over, the lessons we learned over the course of the year have been invaluable in informing the work of our case workers going forward.
“Many of our clients will be facing some kind of financial hardship and, thanks to the work we did through our Aberdeen AIM project, we are now far better placed to support those clients.

“I am delighted that GREC have signed up to the Charter Mark and I’m very proud to be able to continue working in partnership with the Scottish Illegal Money Lending Unit on their mission to stop loan sharks.”

Molly McCall, Outreach Worker with GREC

Scotcash (August 2021)

“We recognise the importance of taking a zero-tolerance stance on illegal money lending within our communities and are proud to have worked with the Scottish Illegal Money Lending Unit for the last 5 years tackling this problem. That partnership has flourished and we were delighted to receive funding from them to establish our Scotcash Money MOT service in 2018. This has allowed us to better provide support to those vulnerable to illegal money lenders, at the core of which are those who have a pressing need to borrow money but find a lack of alternatives. In the longer term, this has contributed to the conditions that are likely to mitigate against the use of illegal money lenders.

“We’re thrilled to be recognised by the Stop Loan Sharks Charter Mark, which acknowledges the immense power when people work towards the same goal. We look forward to continuing our partnership with SILMU to significantly disrupt illegal money lending over the coming years.”

Sharon MacPherson, Chief Executive of Scotcash

Association of British Credit Unions (ABCUL) (September 2021)

“The Association of British Credit Unions Limited is delighted to be recipients of the Charter Mark.  The credit union movement is aware more than most of the damaging impact of illegal money lending. 

“Working closely with the Scottish Illegal Money Lending Team will enable us to support our members, not only to combat the scourge of loan sharks in the communities credit unions serve, but also to ensure that people in the community have access to the ethical financial services credit unions provide.”


Andrew Nadan, Members’ Relationship Manager at ABCUL

Renfrewshire Affordable Credit Alliance (RACA) (November 2021)

“Renfrewshire Affordable Credit Alliance is delighted to be awarded the Scottish Illegal Money Lending Unit Charter Mark.

We are an alliance of organisations in Renfrewshire including advice providers and credit unions, supported by Renfrewshire’s third sector interface and Renfrewshire Council to champion fair and honest credit.

We know that everyone will need to borrow at some point, no matter their circumstances, and we are working to ensure that everyone knows their options open to them without resorting to illegal lending.

We recognise the harm caused to communities and individuals by illegal lenders and we will continue to work in partnership with the Scottish Illegal Money Lending Unit on their mission to stop loan sharks.”

 Yvonne Hughes, Affordable Credit Officer at RACA