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Eden is a step closer to getting its own credit union now an application has been submitted to set up a handy loan scheme for people in the district. Credit unions help residents access small loans at low and affordable interest rates and everyone who obtains a handy loan becomes a member of their local credit union and is encouraged to save on a regular basis.
Set up as not-for-profit financial cooperatives, credit unions are owned by their members. Members savings are put together to create a pool of money that can then be used to provide low cost loans to those signed up to the scheme. Credit unions are open to everyone who lives, works or studies in the areas they cover.
Credit unions already exist in other parts of Cumbria and the county council agreed a further two-year package of support for credit union development across the county in February.
To get a credit union off the ground in Eden an application for formal approval to establish a credit union has been submitted to the Financial Services Authority (FSA) by Eden Credit Union Study Group.
Today (September 12), Cumbria County Council’s Eden Local Committee, which has provided financial assistance for credit union development in the district since 2009, re-affirmed its support for the work of the study group and backed its application for full credit union status.
The application was submitted to the FSA before the end of August with a decision expected to take up to 26 weeks.
The plan is to deliver outreach services from the three key service centres of Alston, Appleby and Kirkby Stephen as well operating out of an office base in Penrith.
A trial of outreach services in Shap, Tebay, Orton, High Hesket and Low Hesket is also set to take place in the first year of credit union operation.
Councillor Martin Stephenson, Chairman of Cumbria County Council’s Eden Local Committee, said: “Supporting credit unions forms an important part of the county council’s commitment to financial inclusion and tackling poverty through our anti-poverty strategy.
“As a local committee we very much endorse the Eden Credit Union Study Group’s application and the group’s planning and vision to make the credit union a success.
“When people are in financial difficulty they sometimes resort to borrowing money from loan sharks and doorstep lenders – often at exorbitant rates.
“Credit unions are a tremendous way for communities to save together, access low interest loans and help keep people out of the clutches of loan sharks.”