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NEFirst merger with Prince Bishops Community Bank backed by Council

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10 Aug 18

Durham County Council has pledged its support to the merger between NEFirst Credit Union and Prince Bishops Community Bank that took place 1 June 2018.

Following the merge, NEFirst now serves 16,000 members and has a loan book of over £3.5m and shares worth over £4.5m. Durham County Council’s cabinet member for social inclusion, Cllr Jane Brown said, “Credit unions offer a stable and straightforward way for people to save.

“They also provide a safer alternative to payday loan companies, pawn brokers and doorstep lenders, with far lower interest rates. However, they have been underused in this country for decades, with just 3% of the UK population credit union members. The merger of these two respected credit unions will help to strengthen the credit union movement in the North East as a whole, helping people reduce their debts and save for a brighter future.” 

Durham County Council and NEFirst have a strong existing relationship already as they continue to work together to develop savings schemes with employers and local schools. Research has found that over 70% of working families in County Durham are worried about their finances with many becoming reliant on high cost, long and short-term credit. 

With the Council and NE First working together on ‘The Durham Savers Project’ they are helping businesses provide a structured saving scheme to help their staff save much more easily, and the reaction from staff has been very positive. NEFirst Credit Union and County Durham Council have developed ways tomake it easy for businesses to set up and offer their employees a simple method of saving directly from their pay.

Thanks to this initiative people in Durham are now starting to take the idea of putting aside money each month more seriously.

Peter Mackie, Chairman of NEFirst Credit Union, said that the merger would result in a stronger larger and more resilient organisation that will deliver the same high level of service for the organisation’s customers across the North East. He said : “We are delighted that, after a detailed due diligence process, we will be merging with our colleagues at Prince Bishops Community Bank.

“Together, we are committed to our members and the community, and by merging the two unions we will have an even greater capacity to support those who need responsible financial support. The merger will result in a larger credit union, which will operate throughout the North East, providing a range of products for savers and borrowers.

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