New financial services for people in Bideford

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New financial services for people in Bideford

Posted: 03/02/2007 13:18:51

Local credit unions in North Devon are working together with D£VON POUND to provide financial services in the Bideford area, offering people low interest loans and savings accounts and help to better manage their finances.

Nearly two in every 10 families in Devon are finding it difficult to make ends meet because they are on low incomes and unable to access mainstream financial services, according to Devon County Council and D£VON POUND, the trading name for the Devon Community Banking Partnership.

The new service in Bideford will offer:

Money advice - working with the Citizen's Advice Bureaux and other money advice agencies.
Simple methods to access mainstream banking - improving access to basic and other bank accounts by working with mainstream banks.
Simple access to affordable credit - options for eligible customers to access affordable loans.
Incentives to save money - principally through membership of Credit Unions .
Financial education - to encourage better financial self-management.
Devon County Council's Chairman and local Member for Holsworthy Rural, Cllr Des Shadrick, is a supporter of credit unions and the help they give families on low incomes.

Cllr Shadrick will be signing up as a member of the new Atlantic Ways branch of the Ilfracombe and District Credit Union on Tuesday 6th February at a launch event at 10am at the Pollyfields Centre in Bideford.

He said:

"Credit unions help people who can't use or choose not to use mainstream banks for loans perhaps because they are on low incomes. For them, one of the few options are loan sharks or institutions that charge huge interest rates which can lead to further problems with debt.

"The Atlantic Ways branch of the credit union will be available in Bideford to give people access to help and advice, savings and credit arrangements at far better rates of interest to doorstep lenders."

Senior Development Manager, Kevin Osborne, of D£VON POUND, one of the partners of the credit unions, who has helped set up the Atlantic Ways branch, said:

"We've heard of loan sharks or other doorstep lenders charging rates as high as 3,000%! People shouldn't ever need to enter into those sorts of arrangements and we don't believe that people should be excluded from having access to fair rates and other financial services.

"We've introduced a company which provides a local service, often in people's homes, and helps to recycle Devon's money back into Devon's economy.

"Savers can put monies away regularly, as lump sums or when they have some spare cash and in a secure environment with an ethical background. They then become eligible for cheap rate loans from as little as £50.

"Whilst the new Partnership has only been operating since last October it has proved a great success providing one to one financial support for people on low incomes to help with their budgeting and saving them hundreds of pounds by offering low cost loans rather than resort to some of the more traditional but costly providers.

"We have the support of Devon County Council, Devon and Cornwall Housing Association, Sovereign Housing Association, North Devon Homes and Magna Housing Association, for which we are extremely grateful."

The service is available on Tuesdays from 10am to 1pm at the Pollyfield Centre, Bideford East, and every Thursday from 10am to 1pm at The Baptist Hall in Appledore. Service organisers also plan to open at the Volunteer Bureau in Bideford at a later date.

For more information about the Atlantic Ways credit union contact Gerald Moon on 07990 960361 or Devon Pound on 08003169296.


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