Wiltshire Publications

Support from your local credit union in Westbury

WITH the Archbishop of Canterbury criticising ‘payday’ loan companies, the spotlight has been firmly put on a local community alternative, credit unions.w584 credit union westbury 1

And here in Westbury, the town has its own credit union facility, which is available from Grassacres and The Laverton every week.

While payday and similar lenders offer short-term loans, often with a extremely high rates of interest, credit unions instead give people the chance to borrow money at competitive rates as well as to save ethically.

Last week, the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Reverend Justin Welby, declared war on online and payday lenders, saying the Church of England would help credit unions to expand and compete head on against payday lenders

He was later embarrassed to learn that the Church of England invests indirectly in online lender Wonga, but was quick to point out that this was a situation which he would look to change.

There are three credit unions in Wiltshire, with the West Wiltshire Credit Union serving Westbury.

Sue Ezra of the Westbury branch explains that the emphasis of credit unions is on saving, with the facility to borrow once you have been a member for a certain length of time.

She said, “We’re trying to encourage people to save a little. You can save all year for Christmas, for example, or if you save regularly, you can borrow.

“If a person comes in, and they say we want a loan, the first question we ask is do you have an account with us?

“We would welcome as many members as would like to join.”

The credit union is held at Grassacres on Tuesdays 10.30am-11.30am and the Laverton on Fridays at 10.00am-11.30am.

The credit union operates under the umbrella of the Wiltshire Community Bank. “A credit union is  a financial co-operative that is owned and democratically controlled by its members and run solely for the benefit of its members,” explains the bank.

“Members can save with the Credit Union and then take out loans if they wish.”

You can find out more at www.wiltscommunitybank.co.uk