CroydonPlus Credit Union is celebrating its contribution to communities across south London by taking to the streets of central Croydon as part of International Credit Union Day on 20th October.
Members talk of fighting a spiralling circle of payday loans and overcoming poor credit ratings to start the healthy habit of regular savings. In a few months, a small nest egg has built up and options become possible.
Sharon, 48, from central Croydon remembers. “When I was younger I was always running out of money – I’ve never saved in my life. My niece was encouraging me to save so opened an account and started saving. £5 a month at first, then £10, and more. I realised I could actually do this”
With help from her niece, Sharon took out a small loan to buy an embroidery machine. It might not be on everyone’s shopping list but Sharon’s dream is to be a designer. She paid it off.
Credit Unions are savings and loans cooperatives. Members with a track record of saving regularly can apply for loans that are cheaper than short term lenders.
“International Credit Union Day is a great day to celebrate how we help our members in Sutton, Croydon and Merton. Credit Unions throughout the country are joining in,” said Peter Hutchison, Manager at CroydonPlus.
CroydonPlus, also known as Croydon, Merton and Sutton Credit Union, has worked hard to modernise and improve services for members and communities across Croydon, Merton and Sutton over the last year.
“Sharon’s story is like many of our members, who have turned living hand-to-mouth to the healthy habit of saving something on a regular basis,” says Hutchison. “As a credit union if we can see a member is serious about managing their money, we’ll do our best to help them when they’re looking to take a loan or cover the costs of an unexpected costs.
“International Credit Union Day is about celebrating how we can help. We can do that because we work for our members in Croydon, Sutton and Merton and don’t have shareholders taking money out of business. We now support online accounts, making it easier to open an account and for people who are struggling with money, we’re a friendly voice that can help over the phone.”
“I’m really grateful,” says Sharon. “I don’t want to let the credit union, or myself, down.”