As part of our series of articles for National Debt Awareness Week, we look at a low cost alternative to pay day loans and overdrafts.
The Middleton Branch of the Leeds City Credit Union, located at the St George’s Centre, has been open since September and has made a real difference to the local community.
The Credit Union branch has been helping hard hit South Leeds communities by offering low interest loans, financial advice, help with arrears, rent and other much needed services. Working with other branches across the city, the Credit Union is leading the fight against payday lenders by offering cheaper alternatives and repayment plans to suit each person’s needs.
Other services on offer include advice surgeries and special accounts to cover household expenditure, which ensure bills and other costs are paid without resorting to payday loans.
The Credit Union has also set up children’s savings clubs with local primary schools. School children of all ages have asked their teachers to learn more about money and financing, and the savings clubs are designed to teach them about the importance of good financial management from an early age. Work is also underway to establish savings clubs in secondary schools and information points at Children’s Centres.
Joanne Rogers (Business Development Manager) said:
“Payday lenders are not helping the people of South Leeds but are making problems worse for them. We offer the best alternative and it is great to see so many people getting the help they need. The work we are undertaking with schoolchildren is very exciting and we hope we will have a generation of young people who will be able to achieve their goals without getting into debt.”
On a recent visit to the outlet, Councillor Kim Groves (Middleton Park) said:
“Since opening in September the Middleton Leeds City Credit Union branch has made a real difference to the communities of South Leeds. At a time when both Nat West and Yorkshire Bank closed their branches in the area it was timely that the Credit Union, which offers similar services, has opened here.
“Leeds City Credit Union is doing an excellent job helping people throughout the city. They were able to offer an extra £300,000 worth of loans in December alone which is a fantastic achievement.”
Credit Unions are not-for-profit financial co-operatives which make affordable credit available to ordinary people and help them save for the future. Established in 1987 and now with over 27,000 members, Leeds City Credit Union announced earlier this month that it will be merging with Wakefield-based White Rose Credit Union. The merged organisation will be one of the largest credit unions in the UK.
Other branches of Leeds City Credit Union are located at Dewsbury Road One Stop Centre in Beeston and in the city centre.