Council leader Councillor Roger Lawrence has called for more people to join a credit union and shun expensive payday lenders or loan sharks who prey on people struggling with debt or low incomes.

To mark International Credit Union Day today (Thursday 17 October, 2013) Councillor Lawrence is pledging his support for the credit unions' ethical alternative way to borrow, save and manage money.

A credit union member himself, Councillor Lawrence said: "At a time when people are experiencing a rising cost of living and falling wage levels, the temptation to borrow from payday lenders and loan sharks is rising. The council is very happy to promote credit unions as an ethical alternative. Organisations like Wolverhampton City Credit Union are now operating on the high street and they deserve far more attention from the public."

Credit unions are not-for-profit organisations that promote savings, financial services and ethical banking. As they are owned, managed and operated by their members, they are able to encourage the community to come together to save and borrow at low rates.

Councillor Lawrence added: "Personally speaking, I'd like to see credit unions achieve the same kind of prominence and status they have in countries like the United States and Ireland. Encouraging more people to join them will help credit unions establish a firmer foothold in the city.

"They provide a way for people to take far more control over their finances, reducing the anxiety and other devastating consequences of spiralling debt and sky high borrowing.

"And credit unions can do more than offer savings and loans. For example, Wolverhampton City Credit Union encourages better money management by asking all loan applicants to complete a budget planner."

For further information on International Credit Union Day visit Type=links;Linkid=2953;Title=About World Council of Credit Unions;Target=_blank;.

How are credit unions run?

Profit made from their loans is ploughed back into the business and once running costs and staff salaries have been deducted, the credit union pays a dividend to its members.

Is my money safe with Wolverhampton City Credit Union (WCCU)?

WCCU is covered by the same rules and regulations as banks and building societies; your money is secured up to £85,000 with the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Why should I use a credit union instead of a high street bank?

Credit unions are the first choice for lifelong ethical financial services. They are able to help people from all walks of life including people who may be financially excluded or have a low credit rating.

 How many members does Wolverhampton City Credit Union have?

 4,500 - and growing.

How do I join?

Complete a membership form, providing identification and proof of address. You need just £1.00 to open an account. Find out more at Type=links;Linkid=2186;Title=Wolverhampton City Credit Union;Target=_blank;.

How do I get a loan from the credit union?

You would need to be a member, complete a loan application and provide 3 months' bank statements and proof of income (for example through 3 months' salary slips and/or benefit letters).

Do you have to save with the credit union before getting a loan?

WCCU are able to in most cases lend to people straight away, subject to terms and conditions.

How do I save?

Call into WCCU's office at Worcester Street, or save by standing order, pay point card, or through payroll deductions. Alternatively, call 01902 893900.

How does WCCU help people struggling to budget?

WCCU ask all loan applicants to complete a budget planner, directing applicants and customers to the Type=links;Linkid=2955;Title=Money Advice Service;Target=_blank;.

Can bills be paid through the credit union?

WCCU will shortly be producing a jam jar account to help you pay your rent, council tax and other bills.  

Where is WCCU located?

73 Worcester Street, Wolverhampton WV2 4LE.

  • released: Thursday 17 October, 2013