Credit Union for Honiton?

PUBLISHED: 16:00 20 February 2013 | UPDATED: 16:06 20 February 2013


Honiton Town Council discusses the possibility of setting up a Plough and Share Credit Union service point in the town.

Financial inclusion is on the agenda in Honiton - with plans afoot to beat loan sharks by setting up a credit union in the town.

Honiton Town Council last week discussed the possibility of a Plough and Share Credit Union service point being made available.

Councillor Marianne Harman explained the idea had been discussed at a recent board meeting of Honiton Children’s Centre where concerns were raised about illegal money lending, such as loan sharks, and also issues surrounding pay day loans.

She said: “It is something that could have a good place here. ”

The credit union service, which is registered with the Financial Services Authority, allows members to make deposits and withdrawals, loan applications and have a pre-paid Visa card.

Cllr Harman said: “It is about bringing the community together to borrow money at a fair rate – the whole thing is about financial inclusion.”

The meeting heard, there are 27 credit union service points in Devon and the latest ones are in Axminster and Cullompton.

The service point, if set up, would run a couple of hours or mornings a week and would be manned by volunteers. Cllr Harman said: “It is a national, fully accredited organisation – it is a wonderful thing.”

She also raised concerns surrounding the number of vulnerable people and families in the town who were struggling in the current economic climate and felt the service would give them access to a “safety net”, rather than using pay day lenders.

She added: “The principle of a credit union will work for everyone. I would be happy to use it, no problem at all.

“It is a banking association encouraging people to save, not just loans. The loan you are able to get is in relation to savings and you have to demonstrate you can pay it back.

“It is a not-for-profit business and any profit goes to benefit members.”

Councillor Mike Allen said: “It is a great idea, but there is a need for emergency grant aid for people who are vulnerable and in serious trouble and don’t know where to turn.

“When that happens they fall between the cracks of social services.”

He said the council had to be clear about its involvement.

The matter is to be discussed again at a future meeting.

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