July 23 2014 Latest news:
Sunday, January 12, 2014
Norwich Credit Union is aiming to sign up hundreds of new savers after opening its first city-centre office.
Norwich Credit Union (NCU) is aiming to sign up hundreds of new savers after opening its first city centre office.
Bosses hope to encourage more people to save with the union and build their own credit history, opening up access to affordable loans and keeping them from the grasp of loan sharks and expensive payday lenders.
The organisation’s new offices at 60 London Street were opened by Norwich North MP Chloe Smith, and will be open between noon and 2pm on Tuesdays, while the union will also be available between the same hours on Saturdays, in the Age UK shop next door.
Jon Warne, chairman of NCU, said the new offices were a step towards establishing full premises on the high street and lifting the lid on “the best-kept financial secret”.
“We need to grow and to encourage our members to be active. At the moment we have 550 members, but we are aiming for a couple of thousand.
“We would like a shop window because it cements to people the idea that you are for the long term, which, after 25 years, we are.”
Credit unions offer secure savings and loans for people who may not be able to get them elsewhere. NCU’s members range from 89 to just 10 weeks old.
They make regular deposits of as little as £1 and, after 13 deposits, can apply for loans of up to double their saved total, and treble on subsequent loans.
Interest rates are capped by the government, and NCU charges 1.5pc a month. It is also offering a £20 incentive to the first 20 savers in selected areas who sign up and make three separate deposits.
Ms Smith said she was aware of loan sharks being a problem in the city, but praised the “local, approachable and practical” spirit behind credit unions.
“There are several areas where loan sharks are known to be around.
“The strength of Norwich Credit Union and other organisations is that they are based in the community and can solve problems for people before they consider going to a loan shark.”
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