The Logan Financial Literacy Action Group (FLAG) is a collective of community and government agencies who are interested in improving financial capacity and capabilities in Logan. This potent little action group has been meeting for four years with a focus on financial literacy issues identified in the Logan community. These include
- The prevalence of high-cost credit options
- Problem gambling
- Debt traps
By pooling available resources, including time and an understanding of the issues facing many people accessing services in Logan, they have identified key areas to focus their collaborative efforts including
- Deliver education sessions to Logan community members and professional development for community workers
- Undertake research to help raise the profile of financial literacy in Logan
- Connect to and promote financial wellbeing at local events.
Logan FLAG is also keen to support similar efforts in other regions and work has already begun in Caboolture and Cairns to establish their own FLAGs.
A great example of Logan FLAG’s efforts is the development of the Logan Credit Map.
An integral piece of the puzzle for FLAG was to discover the drivers behind people’s use of high-cost credit in Logan and what they can do to redirect those people to lower cost options.
Step one was to look at the physical landscape of Logan; the credit shopfronts and their positions. They simply used a google map and took a drive around the place. The outcome was the creation of a credit map.
The credit map shows that in Logan there are 43 banks and credit union shopfronts and 45 high-cost credit businesses. High-cost credit businesses include payday lenders, consumer leases and car yards. Car yards are included because some have moved to the consumer lease model or high-cost credit loans for cars.
Their investigation identified a disparity in where the shopfronts are placed. Suburbs with low socio-economic index like Woodridge and Logan Central have a cluster of high-cost credit businesses, while more affluent suburbs such as Springwood, have plenty of banks but no payday lenders.
Generally, the high-cost credit businesses can be spotted a mile off. They have big bright signs promising people easy credit. Their agenda is clear. They deliberately target people who believe they have no other options. Slogans like, “bad credit, don’t sweat it” smile out at people or a promise that those locked out of the traditional credit market due to low incomes will seek salvation here.
Most people utilising these services are aware they are paying over the odds for the goods or higher interest rates, however they need the goods or cash quickly and don’t see any other options.
Repayments then are a huge issue. Stories have emerged of people putting these repayments before vital budget items like their rent or electricity.
FLAG is willing to provide anyone with access to the credit map they developed. If you have a gmail account, send your gmail address to [email protected]
If you don’t have a gmail account don’t worry, because FLAG will soon be releasing a YouTube clip with a demonstration of the map.
You can keep up to date with FLAG activities by liking their Facebook page.