Credit Union for Honiton

PUBLISHED: 17:00 28 March 2013

Volunteers needed to set up credit union service point in Honiton.

A credit union service point is to be set up in Honiton – the 30th to be set up in the county.

More volunteers are now needed to get the Plough and Share credit union off the ground.

Credit Unions bring local members together to save and borrow money at fair rates and are regulated by the FSA. The service point would offer loans and credit facilities at very competitive rates on a not for profit basis.

Honiton town councillor Marianne Harman said: “We are concerned that increasing numbers of people could be driven to loan companies and payday lenders, some of whom legally charge interest rates of over 4,000 per cent. “Vulnerable people unable to have bank accounts could be locked into permanent overdrafts and further impoverished. We are keen to work in partnership with local banks, advice agencies and other bodies, who could refer people.”

A meeting was attended by representatives of the town council and local voluntary groups who felt because of benefit changes, job losses and financial pressures in the area a credit union was urgently needed.

A team of volunteers has agreed to begin training under the umbrella of Okehampton-based Plough and Shares.

Tony Simpson, a member of Child Poverty Action Group said: “An increasing number of families will be affected by benefits losses, taxing housing benefit and the so called ‘bedroom tax’ especially with job losses like those at Axminster Carpets.

“You have only to look at the growth of food banks in Honiton and other local towns to see the need. A credit union would help hard pressed families to avoid being fed to ‘loan sharks’.”

Councillor Harman and Councillor Vernon Whitlock, who have been leading the project, have recommended that after training has been completed a weekly service be started at the town council’s offices in New Street. Anyone interested in volunteering is urged to call the town council on 01404 42957 or email towncouncil@honiton.gov.uk


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