Saturday, 28 November 2015

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Cumbrian bishop asks firms to back credit unions call

The Bishop of Penrith has called for employers to pay part of salaries into credit unions to help people avoid high-cost lenders.

Idea: Robert Freeman, Bishop of Penrith

The Right Reverend Robert Freeman said he believed local businesses should pay a proportion of workers’ wages into credit union accounts, to help them access affordable financial services.

His remarks come as he visits Penrith’s new credit union EdenSave today, after it opened last week.

He said credit unions help protect people from falling prey to high-cost lenders.

“I would encourage others to take the time this month to open a savings account or to consider using the credit union if they need a loan,” he said. “With a successful credit union in our community, we can be safe in the knowledge that people in need of affordable financial services have somewhere to turn when they may otherwise be tempted into reliance on high-cost, risky lenders.”

Right Reverend Freeman said he would like to see local employers help people access credit unions by paying in through payroll deduction.

“[It is] the most valuable way we can protect people from the high-cost lenders that have become so prevalent in our society,” he added.

The Bishop was due to meet the directors of the credit union, Peter Shearer and Kate Fraser, in its offices in Devonshire Arcade this afternoon, ahead of International Credit Union Day later this month. His visit comes after the Archbishop of Canterbury launched a campaign to encourage churches to work with credit unions to enable people to access local, ethical and affordable financial services.

“I’m delighted to become a member of EdenSave Credit Union and to join over 200 million people around the world who will be marking International Credit Union Day,” Right Revd Freeman added.

According to the Association of British Credit Unions there are 40,258 credit unions in 79 countries around the world.

Allerdale Credit Union will open a branch in Keswick next month.

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