Member-owned Cardiff & Vale Credit Union has opened a flagship branch in the heart of the Welsh capital, bringing affordable loans and ethical savings to the city centre.
The launch of the new branch in Working Street, just off the Hayes, comes months after Cardiff was named one of the top 10 ‘payday lending hotspots’ in the UK. The study showed a staggering 74,000 payday loans were issued to people in Cardiff, with a collective value of over £17.5 million in just one year.
Chief Executive of Cardiff & Vale Credit Union Leanne Herberg urged local people not to fall victim to high-interest lenders and instead access affordable loans ethical and ethical savings by using the credit union.
“We know that Cardiff people will be appalled to see our city cited as a high interest lending hotspot, but most won’t realise that there is something we can all do individually to tackle this,” she said.
“Our credit union offers loans of up to £15,000, including lower value loans which aren’t typically available affordably elsewhere. By saving and borrowing with us, everyone can contribute to keeping money in the local economy for the benefit of Cardiff people.
“We are here for everyone – our members include local teachers, nurses, office workers and bus drivers, and we also help those who are out of work.”
Last year, Cardiff & Vales saved its members an estimated £1.3 million in debt repayments over the past year for lower value loans, compared to using a payday lender.*
The Rt. Hon. The Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Councillor Dan De’Ath joined Patron of Credit Unions of Wales Jane Hutt MS to cut the ribbon at the office on Working Street, which is situated on the busy thoroughfare from Queen Street to The Hayes.
Jane Hutt said: “I’m delighted to see such a high-profile credit union branch opening in Cardiff for the benefit of local people, putting ethical and people-focussed savings and loans firmly on the map for the city.”
Now in its 26th year, the financial co-operative recently won Social Enterprise of the Year at the Cardiff Business Awards and became the first Wales-based financial services provider to achieve 5-star accreditation with the Fairbanking Foundation for its personal loans.
Over 10,000 local people currently save or borrow with them, including staff of more than 40 local employers who give staff the option of saving or repaying a loan directly from their salary. Partners include Cardiff Council, Cardiff & Vale NHS, Admiral, Legal & General and Cardiff Bus.
With no external shareholders, the interest repaid on loans is used only for the benefit of the local people who are members. Those who save have the reassurance of financial protection in the same way as saving with a bank, but have the benefit of knowing that it helps Cardiff’s economy by offering loans to other members of the community.
Anyone living in Cardiff or Vale of Glamorgan or working anywhere in Wales is eligible to become a member. Membership is free and can be applied for in branch or online.