H&F Credit Union launches Pledge Drive

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For the last few months a group residents have been working on plans to set up a brand new borough-wide credit union for everyone living and working in Hammersmith and Fulham. H&F Credit Union have now launched their Pledge Drive, to raise awareness about the initiative and are inviting everyone who lives and works in the area to pledge their support.

Supporters of the credit union include many of the leading providers of social housing, the Council, regeneration organisations, and the local CAB. The aim is to reduce the growing problems of financial exclusion and rising household debt experienced by people living and working in Hammersmith & Fulham.

Credit Unions are financial co-operatives, which means that they are owned and controlled by the people who use them. They offer a safe place to save money, as well as accessible loans at reasonable interest rates. They are also locally based which helps to retain wealth in the local economy. The addition of a credit union to the borough has the potential to be of great benefit to many who live and work here.

“Hammersmith & Fulham is one of the most polarised boroughs in London. The gap between the most and least deprived is greater than in most other areas of London, and it’s increasing.” explains Claire Brady, Development Manager for H&F Credit Union.

“The people living in deprived areas often lack access to mainstream banking and affordable loans. So they are targeted by doorstep lenders and cheque cashing shops and end up being charged extortionate rates of interest.”

“Credit union’s have the potential to reach out to those most in need, and ideally stop the divide between the richest and the poorest growing even further. A credit union also provides an ethical alternative to saving with a “profit-led bank”, enabling those who save with the credit union, to benefit their local community as well as get a good return on their savings.”

To get started H&F Credit Union must demonstrate that there are enough people living and working in the area who think a credit union is a good idea and are aiming for more than 2000 pledges of support. Many households will receive a pledge form directly through their letterbox, so look out for it. Alternatively you can check out the following website for more information and to register your support www.hf-creditunion.co.uk.

H&F Credit Union is hoping to attract local volunteers to help raise awareness about the initiative in the local community and within local businesses. H&F Credit Union is also looking to recruit and train up to 25 local representatives who will manage the new credit union.

Throughout 2006 H&F Credit Union will continue to encourage people to sign up in support of the credit union and recruit volunteers. The group will be securing the funds needed to establish the credit union and help it reach sustainability and hope to approach the Financial Services Authority (FSA) for “authorisation” later in 2006.


January 23, 2006