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  • stevecowles

Credit Unions - Why use them?

I have been a member of the local WEDCU credit union (Whitehaven, Egremont & District) for a few years.

I first joined when I had a low-paid job and received my wages in cash, I wanted to save a few quid a week (literally) for trips to gigs and that sort of thing and the local branch was open at a time that was good for me. Ever since then, I have always paid a small percentage of my wage into the account for a 'rainy day'.

So how does it work? in some ways, it is a little like an old fashioned building society (before they became banks).

  • You pay your money in to buy shares of the same value in the union so are a part-owner.

  • Money can easily be paid into the account in cash or cheque.

  • Withdrawal is in the form of a cashable check and a few days notice is usually required, I like this as it makes it just that little bit harder to get at it.

  • After you have been a member for a while you can apply for a small loan, usually at a low interest rate.

  • On an annual basis, any profit is shared out to members in the form of more shares.

  • As a bonus, some free life insurance is often offered to members under a certain age.

  • Generally run by volunteers.

  • The union is underwritten by the government so it is safe.

All in all, these are a great idea and hope to protect people from loan sharks and high-interest borrowing.

I went to pay some money in today and was given a freebie; a nice bag, mask, anti-viral gel and a pen so that can't be bad. These will all be handy in my cycling 'day-bag'.

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