Bank plan expansion

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AN ILKESTON-BASED community bank is set to expand its work across the county.

Erewash Credit Union, based in the Co-op department store in South Street, is the largest financial co-operative in Derbyshire and has been running for five years.

Owned and controlled by its members, it provides a safe place for people to save money on a regular basis, creating a cash pool from which members can borrow cheaply compared to high-cost lenders who charge huge interest rates.

In January, the credit union opened an office in Amber Valley and it has now been given permission from the Financial Services Authority to extend throughout Derbyshire, including in Derby.

Chairman of the credit union Howard Foster said: “We can’t believe where the last five years have gone.

“So much has been achieved and so many people have been helped. This is a fantastic achievement, which would not have been possible without the support of people in Erewash.”

He said he is delighted that the credit union can now help even more people throughout Derbyshire to manage their finances through a range of services.

“It’s an endorsement of the work and achievements that we have had over five years,” he said.

Since 2007 the credit union, which has 2,000 members, has provided £1.7m in loans.

Manager Seamus Grant said: “We reckon we have saved our members at least £1m in interest costs compared to a typical doorstep lender. This is money that is spent in the local Erewash economy. So we are helping local businesses as well as local residents and workers”.

From the end of next month the credit union will be able to operate from council offices in Amber Valley.

But there are no immediate plans to open more offices. The credit union will now be able to accept referrals from other agencies on behalf of individuals.

The credit union’s fifth annual meeting will be held at the Sir John Warren pub in Ilkeston Market Place, on March 21 at 6.30pm.

There are vacancies on the board of directors for people with experience.

Contact the credit union via its website at www.erewashcreditunion.org.uk.