A community bank that offers low interest loans has today (Monday December 1, 2014) launched a campaign to recruit 5,000 new members to loosen the grip of payday lenders on families in Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire.

Wolverhampton City Credit Union (WCCU) said its goal was to help more families free themselves from spiralling debt caused by aggressively marketed high interest loans and worse, loan sharks.

Owned and controlled by its members, the not-for-profit cooperative hopes to reach a target of 10,000 members by 2017.  It offers savings and loans to people living or working in the WV postcode areas of Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire.

Manager Matt Goulding said:

WCCU is bringing financial stability by helping to break people’s dependence on short-term loans at very high interest rates. 

In the last year alone, we estimate we’ve saved our members £665,000 in interest, charges and fees by borrowing from us rather than payday lenders.  Even with the Financial Conduct Authority’s new cap on payday lenders, their loans will still be at least eight times more expensive than credit union loans.

We now want to bring those benefits to more people through our recruitment campaign.  We don’t have Wonga-sized advertising budgets, so our growth will be driven by word of mouth. We’re hoping to engage more people to get the message out.”

WCCU’s recruitment campaign has been welcomed by two prominent credit union members, Wolverhampton City Council Leader, Cllr Roger Lawrence, the Bishop of Wolverhampton, The Right Revd Clive Gregory.

Councillor Lawrence said:

Although we’re all getting wiser to payday lenders, they still have many families in their grip.  Uncontrolled personal debt can cause untold misery. By offering affordable, low interest loans and encouraging families to save, WCCU is a real force for good in our city and I welcome their ambitions to grow.” 

Bishop Clive said:

I would urge everyone to become a member of a credit union.  The bigger they are, the smaller the damage caused by high interest lending.  Simply by saving with WCCU and using their financial services, we can make a real and positive difference in our communities.”

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