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Chief Economist from The Bank of England supports credit unions on visit in Northumberland


23 Feb 18

On 9 February Chief Economist at the Bank of England, Andy Haldane, visited Northumberland Community Bank learning from and showing his support fort for the financial services they offer to communities in the area.

The visit was organised in partnership with the Church of England the Just Finance Foundation which works to support fair and affordable access to financial services across communities in the UK.

Andy’s visit to Ashington was part of his series of Town Hall events and as well as the credit union involved conversations with teachers, pupils, parents, charities, voluntary organisations, local councils, companies and housing associations, as well as Church of England staff and volunteers to learn about how a lack of financial literacy has affected the community and what must be done to improve the standard of living.

Andy spent time with Lauren Langton, Chief Executive of Northumberland Community Bank. Lauren valued the time Andy shared with her.  Andy learnt how the credit union has been crucial in the area helping out in its residents’ daily struggle with their finances.  

Lauren said: “We were delighted to welcome the Bank of England’s Chief Economist, Andy Haldane to our office in Ashington.

“He was particularly interested in what challenges people in Northumberland faced and how the community bank was able to help them.  We were happy to share our experiences and views with such an influential person and glad he has taken such an interest in what we are doing.”

Andy believes that financial literacy is a key for families across the nation to help them be more financially responsible. Blogging about this visit Andy said: “My conversations with credit unions, voluntary and charitable organisations in Ashington, whose customers and clients often face acute financial stress, brought into sharp relief the costs of poor financial literacy.

“It is crucial the importance of financial literacy in supporting everyday decision-making by families – where (and where not) to shop, where (and where not) and when to borrow, why and where it pays to save.”

Ashington was considered the world’s largest coal-mining village almost 40 years ago; however the town has gone through many changes and now the area’s largest employer after that, an aluminum smelter, closed in 2012.

Andy visited a local primary school in the area in which he spent time taking part in the school’s “LifeSavers” programme, a scheme designed to encourage primary school children to save and to teach them the basics of money management, embedding what is sometimes called financial literacy at an early stage. The club is facilitated by Northumberland Community Bank.

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