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DWP helps staff join credit unions

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06 Jul 16

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is helping its staff save and borrow with credit unions via payroll deduction.

The DWP has become the first Whitehall department to set up a payroll scheme with credit unions for all its staff. The DWP is one of the largest Government departments, employing around 85,000 people.

DWP staff will be served by three of the country’s leading credit unions – Commsave Credit Union, Hull & East Yorkshire Credit Union and Voyager Alliance Credit Union. DWP staff have an intranet landing page which allows them to explore what credit unions are all about and then click through to their own online joining form. Because DWP office locations have been divided between the three credit unions, when an employee enters their work postcode, they are routed to the credit union which serves their workplace.   

The new partnership was launched at a meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Credit Unions at Westminster on 6 July, with the Welfare Reform Minister Lord Freud (pictured with APPG Chair Robin Walker MP) pledging his support for credit unions and announcing that his department will help staff to save and repay loans by enabling them to have some of their salary paid directly into a credit union account through the new payroll scheme.

Lord Freud said: “Everyone should be able to access good quality and affordable financial services and that’s why I am a firm supporter of credit unions.

“Everyone should consider joining their local credit union. Credit unions need us to be their customers, so they can grow and continue to serve their local community. I’m proud we as an employer are making it really easy for our staff to join one.”

The new scheme is already proving popular with DWP employees, with almost 300 staff joining one of the three credit unions in the first few days.

ABCUL Chief Executive Mark Lyonette said: "It's no coincidence that the most successful credit union sectors across the world have developed close links with employers so that saving and repaying affordable loans can be done direct from payroll.

"Easy access to credit union services isn't just good news for employees. Research has shown that money worries lead to increased absence and lower productivity, so helping staff save and borrow responsibly is good for business. We're delighted that the DWP is setting an example for other public, private and third sector employers to follow."

The DWP is also investing up to £38 million into the credit union sector to help it sustainably modernise and expand to serve even more people from all walks of life.

Earlier, the APPG on Credit Unions held its Annual General Meeting and approved the re-election of the Group’s officer bearers. Robin Walker MP (Conservative, Worcester) continues as Chair, with Mark Durkan MP (SDLP, Foyle), Jim Fitzpatrick MP (Labour, Poplar & Limehouse), Peter Grant MP (SNP, Glenrothes), Lord Kennedy of Southwark (Labour & Co-operative) and Madeleine Moon MP (Labour, Bridgend) serving as Vice Chairs. Yvonne Fovargue MP (Labour, Makerfield) remains the Group’s Secretary, and Chris Evans MP (Labour & Co-operative, Islwyn) is the Treasurer.

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