East Sussex Credit Union, a co-operative which helps people to avoid high interest rate loans, has had jump in its lending activity.
The union held its annual general meeting last week, which was attended by dignitaries and members of the union which have taken advantage of the loans available.
Richard Priestman, president of East Sussex Credit Union, said, “2014/15 was another landmark year for East Sussex Credit Union as more and more people responded to our ethical, local offer.
“In what was our fourteenth year, membership was up, deposits jumped almost 20% and our lending activities hit record levels.
“However, although the economy might have been showing the green shoots of recovery, for many across the county times were tough and our various services remained much in demand.”
Members deposits have now exceeded £2 million
Record lending levels as loans to members closed on £1.3 million
Membership has passed 5,000 and is growing.
Since the credit union opened for business in 2000, over 5,000 members now actively use their accounts, and this number continues to grow as the organisation boosts its relationships with major employers locally and other partners across the region. It is also building its presence online.
Mr Priestman added, “People like our ethical, ‘not for profit’, personal approach and appreciate the fact that they can save and borrow through a number of schemes, including salary deduction (set up with their employers) or via their trade union.
“They can also manage their accounts online and with our ongoing investment in digital technology, this element of our business is poised to expand, making us even more attractive to new members, especially among the county’s younger people.”
This year the credit union started to offer accounts for local groups and businesses.
Mr Priestman said, “We like to think that we are offering a lending lifeline to small businesses in the area.
“Many mainstream players are just not interested at this level and it offers us a valuable development opportunity.”
The credit union’s support for the financially fragile in the community also continued with an ongoing programme of money management training across the county and nearly £150,000 in small loans helping over 250 local people who might otherwise have fallen into the clutches of high interest lenders.
As a co-operative, East Sussex Credit Union takes its social and charitable objectives very seriously.
It aims to provide high quality, sustainable and easy to access local savings and loans to meet the needs of local people.
East Sussex Credit Union has recently opened an information centre in Seaford.
It is open between 2pm and 4pm every Monday at Waves Centre, 8 Church Street, Seaford, BN25 1HG.
Everyone is welcome to the centre.
For more information on the service visit www.eastsussexcu.org.uk.
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