Friday, 16 December 2011

Unify Credit Union welcomes newest member

Unify’s Angela Fishwick was on hand to welcome me as a new member of Wigan’s biggest credit union at the headquarters of the Higher Ince based Unify Credit Union Ltd.

Cllr Keir Stitt also joined us. Keir is the Chair of Wigan & Leigh Cooperative Party and a staunch supporter of credit unions. He is an existing member of Unify.

Angela Fishwick said, “We are really pleased that Yvonne recognises the good work that Unify Credit Union does within the borough and that she wants to be part of that success."

“As well as providing low cost loans, Unify members are encouraged to save and receive a good return on their savings (2.5% in 2010).  All members’ savings and loans are also insured at no cost to the member, meaning that the loan dies with the member and savings could be worth twice as much.  This service is not provided by any other financial organisation.”

Her membership comes in the month that a report from R3, a trade body for insolvency professionals, has found that 45% of the population struggle to make it to pay day each month before running out of cash and that 3.5 million adults are considering taking out a pay day loan in the next six months.

Pay day loans provide access to small sums of money until a person’s next pay day but are controversial because of the rate of interest that they charge which can, in some cases, be as much as 4,000% APR.  Whilst such borrowing can be useful for immediate one-off emergencies, critics point out that when loans are rolled over – only the interest is paid and the capital left for repayment at a later date – interest costs can quickly spiral out of control.

The report also raises the spectre of ‘zombie debtors’ who can afford to only make interest payments on their borrowings and finds that one in six now finds themselves in this position.

As Secretary of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Credit Unions I know that Credit Unions offer a safe and reliable way to save and they play a vital role in helping people through difficult financial circumstances.

Too many low income borrowers face extortionate rates of interest, but credit unions provide loans at low cost and help to keep the loan sharks away from the doorstep.

Credit Unions also support the growing appetite amongst the public for mutual alternatives to banks.

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