Hammersmith & Fulham’s not-for-profit bank – the H&F Credit Union – says it has saved account holders £1m since it opened.
Found on North End Road, Fulham, H&F Credit Union was launched in December 2008, with the support of the council and owned by its account holders. The credit union now has over 2,200 members with savings of more than £500,000 and has issued a total of 2000 loans totalling over £1.2m.
Marc O’Hagan, H&F Credit Union Secretary said: “By providing an alternative to doorstep lenders, payday loans and illegal loan sharks, we have prevented vital resources from being drained out of our community. This month the cumulative amount we have saved members of our community has reached an amazing £1m.”
Deputy Leader of the Council, Cllr Greg Smith, said: “High levels of personal debt is one of the most serious social problems facing us today. The credit union offers an alternative choice for those tempted by the ‘buy now, pay later’ credit card culture and I am delighted that it has been such a success.”
In the UK, credit unions provide credit for only 1 per-cent of the population. And yet, there are more than 42,000 credit unions worldwide, with over 160 million members.
Hammersmith & Fulham Council awarded the Credit Union £25,000 towards setting up in 2008 and in July 2010 extended its commitment by giving the organisation an additional £49,500.
Anyone who lives or works in the borough can become a member of H&F Credit Union and benefit from a range of services it provides, such as saving schemes and affordable loans. All members’ money is guaranteed by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme so the credit union is a safe and ethical place to save and borrow.
Due to changes in legislation, the Credit Union is now able to provide services to people who live or work in Kensington & Chelsea too.
The Credit Union has just been awarded Best Business Supporter of the Community in the H&F Brilliant Business Awards.