With one in six people in Wales at risk of unmanageable debt, Cardiff and Vale Credit Union is calling on residents to avoid a debt trap this Christmas.
Startling figures from the Money Advice Service show people in Wales are more at risk than any other part of the UK of being ‘over-indebted’ and finding it hard to repay credit.
Chief Executive of the member-owned, financial co-operative Leanne Herberg said: “This time of year can be expensive: although Wonga has collapsed, there are still many other high interest lenders taking its place, who can make borrowing at Christmas the start of a cycle of debt that’s hard to escape from. We are holding a drop-in day on Friday October 19 for anyone interested in finding out about the ethical and affordable alternative available right here in the Vale.”
Cardiff & Vale Credit Union is owned by its 9,000 members, offering savings accounts and affordable loans up to £15,000 to anyone living or working in the area.
The credit union has no external shareholders, so profits go back into serving members and stay in the community.
Ms Herberg added: “A lot of our members save for Christmas, but we can all need a little more now and again. We want to make sure that Vale residents avoid a debt trap and so are offering borrowers a discounted rate for Christmas loans, and a further ‘early bird’ discount for Christmas loan applications received before 1st November.
“We also help borrowers to save a small amount with each loan repayment, so when they have repaid the loan they have access to the savings they have built up, which could be used for the following Christmas.”
Jane Hutt AM, who is a member of Cardiff & Vale Credit Union and also Joint Patron of Credit Unions of Wales along with actor Michael Sheen, has thrown her support behind the campaign, stating:
“In the run up to Christmas, we urge local people to use their local credit union. This way we can put a stop to the predatory lenders and support an organisation that exists purely for local people and not for profit.
“I also urge higher earners looking for finance to use a credit union as a way to support their local community. Their interest rates are competitive and it offers a way for local people to help each other, as the interest repaid will be used to develop credit union services. We have all heard the horror stories of distressed people in payday lending debt traps, and using a credit union is a way to support our local community to offer a better way for everyone”.
Cardiff & Vale Credit Credit Union will be holding a drop-in day for anyone wanting to find out more on Friday 19th October in their Barry offices at 174 Holton Road between 10am and 2pm. Their offices are open Monday to Friday 9.30am to 2.30pm.