NEFirst lends half a million pounds
28 Feb 17
NEFirst Credit Union is celebrating lending more than £500,000 to new members in East Durham.
The credit union – which serves the North East of England – has recently enjoyed a huge increase in membership thanks to a partnership with the East Durham Area Action Partnership and the East Durham Trust.
Throughout 2016, a team of volunteers were recruited and several new collection points were set up in local venues in former mining communities such as Shotton and Wingate. Over 600 new members have joined the credit union, and as well as borrowing over £500,000 which they would otherwise have borrowed from high cost lenders, they are also now saving regularly.
East Durham Trust Chief Executive Malcolm Fallow said the Trust found that many people it helped were in dire financial straits which could have been avoided if they were members of a credit union. He said: “Often when people are in financial difficulty they turn to support that can be negative in the longer term, such as as payday loans and loan sharks. The credit union clearly has a role to play in helping people to avoid the poverty trap.”
NEFirst Credit Union was formed by the merger of a number of smaller credit unions who had been providing savings and loan accounts to people in the North East of England for more than 20 years.
It has offices in Gateshead, Durham, Birtley and North Shields and serves anyone who lives or works in the North East, including County Durham, Northumberland and all of the boroughs that make up Tyne and Wear (Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland, North Tyneside and South Tyneside).
Durham Council has supported the membership campaign through the Area Action Partnership, and its Deputy Leader Cllr Alan Napier said: "Reaching £500,000 in loans is a significant milestone, and our credit union will continue to be a huge benefit to some of the most financially vulnerable within our society.”