Money will help unions compete with pay-day lenders

A MILFORD Haven-based credit union will be better equipped to help local people struggling to manage their money, thanks to a Welsh Government funding boost.

Haven Credit Union will receive £67,500 in the next three to help support people who find it difficult to get credit elsewhere.

The money is part of a £1.7million pot designed to attract new members to Wales’ 21 credit unions.

Haven Credit Union started 11 years ago, and the money it is set to receive will help this ’community bank’ continue its work across Pembrokeshire.

Secretary Brenda Hancock said people on low incomes are often unable to apply for credit or loans with high street banks, and many turn to doorstop or pay-day lenders to help them out.

“Especially with new systems such as universal credit, people are finding it difficult to last until the end of the month,” said Brenda.

“We’re here to stop people going to the loan sharks.”

Credit unions work with their members to help them put money aside, and provide affordable personal loans.

Jeff Cuthbert, minister for communities and tackling poverty, said the long-term plan was to grow Welsh credit unions, with the eventual aim of them becoming financially independent.

“We want to make sure credit unions go from strength to strength and become a permanent sight on high streets across Wales,” he said.

“They are a real, community-focused alternative to traditional banks and payday lenders.”

A spokesman for the Welsh government said it is on target to meet its goal of six per cent of people in Wales being a member of a credit union by 2020.

Also receiving funding of more than £90,000 is and Cardigan-based West Wales Credit Union.

For more information about saving as little as £5 a month with a credit union, contact Haven Credit Union on 01646 694080 or West Wales Credit Union on 01239 621408.

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