Credit Where It's Due *Updated

by Gerry Lynch last modified 21 Oct, 2013 09:49 AM

Bishop Nicholas pays a supporting visit to South Wiltshire Credit Union in Bemerton Heath

Credit Where It's Due *Updated

L-R: Martin Smith, Michael Ricketts, Bishop Nicholas, Rose-Marie Lewis

The Bishop of Salisbury visited the South Wiltshire Credit Union on Friday 18 October to learn more about how this type of financial institution can encourage saving and provide a responsible alternative to payday lenders.

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This summer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Right Revd Justin Welby focused the attention of the nation on the need for alternatives to high-interest lenders and for-profit banks.

Archbishop Justin is encouraging churches to work with credit unions to enable more people to access local, ethical and affordable financial services. South Wiltshire Credit Union offers savings and loans services on a not-for-profit basis to the people of Salisbury and South Wiltshire.

Bishop Nicholas said, “I’m delighted to support the work carried out by South Wiltshire Credit Union and other credit unions within the Diocese.  We can all help make our local credit unions stronger by using their services and volunteering our skills. Credit Unions need savers so you could open a savings account and use the credit union if you need a loan.

“A successful credit union in our community is a good way of protecting poor people from high cost lenders.”

Membership of South Wiltshire Credit Union is open to all who live or work in a large swathe of the county, from Amesbury to Mere and all points south. A junior savers’ programme operates for under 16s. As well as its main site in Bemerton Heath Neighbourhood Centre, the credit union provides services for at least two hours per week at Salisbury District Hospital and the libraries at Salisbury, Amesbury, Mere and Tisbury.

Other Credit Unions have been established across the Diocese. Coastal Credit Union serves Poole, Bournemouth, and other areas with a BH postcode. First Dorset covers rural Dorset. North Wiltshire covers an area that includes Devizes. West Wiltshire works from Melksham to Westbury.

People can find their local credit union and its contact details on www.findyourcreditunion.co.uk

Michael Ricketts, Chair of South Wiltshire Credit Union Ltd said, “It is our pleasure to welcome Bishop Nicholas to Bemerton Heath today to see the credit union in action.  Working in partnership with local, respected organisations is vital to our success and we are grateful to the Bishop for his support.  International Credit Union Day takes place this week. Its theme of ‘uniting for good’ reflects the importance of coming together as neighbours and colleagues in a credit union, or as community organisations to support a credit union.  

“We already have over 500 members and we look forward to welcoming many more.  We offer a range of services to members including savings, unsecured loans and access to discounted electrical goods.  We are run by volunteers and have no external shareholders – only the members share in the profits – and their savings are as safe as they would be in a bank or building society.

“Some local employers help their staff access the services of a credit union by helping people to pay in through payroll deduction, protecting people from the high cost lenders that have become all too prevalent. We have already partnered Salisbury District Hospital, Wiltshire Council, Alabaré Christian Care and Support and Abicare Home Support to provide services to their employees.” 

Credit unions are financial co-operatives owned and controlled by their members. They are licensed deposit takers, authorised and regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Savings held in credit unions are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, so the first £85,000 of a member’s savings are completely safe.

The maximum by law that a credit union can charge for a loan is 2% a month on the reducing balance (26.8% APR).

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