A local credit union is offering new, short term loans and has just launched a new website with modern banking facilities – as part of Renfrewshire Council’s fight against payday lenders.

Renfrewshire Wide Credit Union is currently driving forward an improvement package thanks to a £200,000 investment by the council.

The new site went live on 30th January 2015 – with transactional online banking and an interactive loan calculator that quickly lets people know if a loan is suitable and affordable for them.

The credit union is also providing short term loans that offer affordable credit to help residents avoid payday loan companies and the toxic debt that comes with them. Already 44 Fast Cash Loans worth a total of £18,788 have been paid out.

Councillor Mike Holmes, Renfrewshire Council’s Depute Leader said: “Our investment in local credit unions is part of our two-fold fight against payday lenders and poverty. I am delighted that Renfrewshire Wide Credit Union is making positive progress to build and enhance its services and products to help people manage their personal finances, while offering access to safe savings and fair credit.”

The council is working closer than ever with credit unions to make sure local people have access to their affordable rates and as well as the £200,000 committed to Renfrewshire Wide Credit Union, £27,000 has been granted to White Cart Credit Union, and £22,000 to Glenburn Credit Union.

Councillor Holmes added: “Credit unions have a valuable role to play within the community because they are safe, not-for-profit and run for the benefit of members. To tackle the sharp rise in high interest loans and the negative impact they have on families, we are working to ensure an alternative is in place by providing access to dependable banking services and affordable credit.”

The overall credit union investment is helping to modernise services; build capacity to meet wider demand; offer a greater variety of products; build on financial education work in local schools; and raise awareness of the benefits of credit union membership while also encouraging saving and budgeting.

Karen Graham, General Manager at Renfrewshire Wide Credit Union said: “We would like to thank Renfrewshire Council for their significant investment which has enabled us to commission an attractive, modern, and easy-to-use interactive website where all members – new and existing – can log on and apply to join, transfer funds, apply for loans or check to see how well their savings are doing. Everything you can do with a mainstream bank account.
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“We are putting further investment into budgeting support and budget accounts to give our members the financial skills and tools they need to effectively manage their finances. We also realise the problem people face when they borrow from high cost lenders and we have therefore ring fenced £100,000 of our funds to offer a Fast Cash loan – an ethical, affordable alternative to high cost lenders.
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“Over all these positive steps aims to promote financial education, good money management and ethical lending all of which supports the credit union’s long-term ethos of thrift amongst its members and the community as a whole.”