A scheme aimed at steering people facing financial hardship away from pay day loan companies and doorstep money lenders will be launched in Corby on Monday.
Residents are invited to attend the event to find out more about Northamptonshire Credit Union and join the scheme.
An access point for the credit union is being opened at the One Stop Shop in The Cube at 10.30am and the first 100 eligible applicants will have their £5 membership fee paid for them.
The credit union is being launched in the town by Corby Council to help residents struggling to cope in the wake of welfare reforms.
Council leader Tom Beattie said: “People are under pressure because of the welfare changes and we hope the credit union will provide them with an alternative to the pay day loan companies which charge exorbitant rates of interest.
“The credit union will give people access to a more ethical way of banking.”
Cath Maglone, landlord services manager with Corby Council, has been working on the project for more than a year.
She said: “We are hoping for a really good turnout at the launch. Northamptonshire Credit Union has been running successfully for many years, allowing regular savers access to low interest loans.
“It is well-established and, like other credit unions, operates to Financial Services Authority standards.
“If people come along on Monday they can find out everything they need to know about becoming a member.”
Adult savers must be 16 or over and junior savings accounts will be available for people under 16.
To be eligible for a loan members must be regular savers for three months. After that time they can apply for a low-interest loan equivalent to three times the amount they have saved.
Members can save as little as £1 a week and tenants can also set up direct debits through a rent budget account.
People who attend the launch and who would like to become a member of the credit union are asked to take along two separate forms of identification verifying their name and address.
At 11am, following the official launch, people are invited to The Core theatre for a free performance of It’s Only a Few Quid, a hard-hitting play about loan sharks, commissioned by the Illegal Money Lending Team and Northamptonshire Trading Standards.