People across Kettering are being invited to get advice on managing their finances at a new credit union branch which was officially opened at the Kettering Council offices today (Friday May 9).
Representatives of the Citizens Advice Bureau, the East Midlands Credit Union and Kettering Council were present at the event.
The new office will be manned by Kettering Council staff, but back office functions will be managed by the East Midlands Credit Union.
Mike Oakley, from the Northampton Credit Union, which is part of the East Midlands Credit Union, said the purpose of the Credit Union office is to help people gain access to basic bank accounts as well as getting financial and money advice.
He added: “We are very pleased that the borough is supportive of us.
“Credit unions are financial co-operatives. Basically we are a group of people who came together to save money so other people can borrow.
“We have also branched out into offering budget and rent payment accounts.”
Kettering Council said the credit union is aimed at helping people access services online and to help break down barriers for unemployed customers to seek and gain paid employment.
A spokesman added: “It is hoped by giving all customers access to basic banking, and with the opportunity to improve their financial and money management skills, this will in time help reduce the necessity for customers within the borough of Kettering to engage with loan sharks and door step lenders.”
Julie Trahern, head of income and debt, said: “Having Credit Union under our roof is a fantastic opportunity for our customers to get real-time advice. After three months of having a bank account, customers will have the facility available to apply for loans within the credit union. This is a great way of helping our customers steer clear of door step lenders.”
Cllr Ian Jelley, Kettering Council portfolio holder for finance said: “Credit unions are a practical example of people helping people in a community. I am looking forward to the partnership between our Citizens Advice Bureau and Credit Union. It will be a tremendous opportunity for our customers to gain support and change their financial situation.”
Kettering mayor Keli Watts said: “I think it is really important that an organisation which specialises in financial education is here in Kettering and open 9am until 5pm here at the council offices.”
For more information, visit www.emheartcu.coop.