As council enters partnership agreement to offer range of services
Earlier this year, Wandsworth Council announced it had started working with London Plus Credit Union to decide what financial support could be offered to people when the service officially launches in the coming months.
This week, a formal partnership agreement was drawn up to offer ethical savings, affordable loans and a range of other services such as Christmas savings schemes. London Plus has now extended its ‘common bond’ so that anyone who lives or works in Wandsworth can become a member and access these services.
By offering people new financial support services like this, the council and London Plus hope to eliminate the potential for situations in which people turn to loan sharks or payday loan companies.
London Plus will deliver services in the borough under the name Wandsworth Plus Credit Union when it launches in the New Year. In the meantime, residents and workers can find out more about London Plus by visiting www.londonpluscu.co.uk.
Wandsworth’s finance spokesman, Councillor Guy Senior, said:
“We want to make sure that access to credit union services is available to as many residents and borough-based workers as possible – whether they are having difficulty managing their finances or whether they are simply looking for new ways to save.
“By creating a financial community in Wandsworth through this credit union agreement we especially hope to see financial help given to people those who are often excluded from mainstream financial products.
“And, as well as providing a welcome alternative to payday loans or doorstep lending, one of the best things about credit unions is that members mutually benefit as there’s no profit for third party shareholders.”
Vincent Thomas, the chair of London Plus Credit Union, said:
“We are excited to be working in partnership with Wandsworth Council to provide credit union services in the borough. Wandsworth residents and workers will soon have an alternative to major banks and high cost lenders. At last there will be an affordable alternative to the payday lenders and home credit companies.
“But Wandsworth Plus Credit Union will offer financial services to all sections of the community, however much you earn, whether you're looking for a competitive loan or an ethical place to save.”
Credit Unions are not-for-profit run organisations owned by their members, with any profits being shared fairly amongst the members or reinvested to provide better services. They manage personal savings accounts of up to £15,000 and these are protected in exactly the same way as bank and building society deposits.
Anyone who lives or works in the borough will be able to become a credit union member, and be eligible for loans of between £50 and £7,500. Loans under £7,500 are often cheaper from a credit union than from anywhere else – banks, doorstep lenders or payday lenders – and there are no hidden charges like late or early repayment fees.
Many people working in the borough will be able to have payments to the credit union made directly from their pay packet, making it easy to save regularly or repay a loan.
October 8, 2013