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East Sussex Credit Union praised by local council for helping those most financially vulnerable

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20 Apr 18

East Sussex Credit Union (ESCU) has been working hard to improve the lives of residents in its community by helping people get ‘banked’.

An initiative which has been praised by East Sussex County Council has helped people access financial services who otherwise would be reliant on expensive alternatives. With the changes in the welfare system, Universal Credit claimants must have access to a bank account.  But due to problems with homelessness, mental health, disability or a lack of understanding of the online world this often creates problems. ESCU is working hard to offer an alternative for people by not completing credit checks on application meaning that membership is available for anyone that lives or works in East Sussex, Brighton or Hove.

ESCU has a current membership of over 6,300, savings of over £2.8 million and have outstanding lending of more than £2 million. 35% of ESCU’s lending in the last year is to people who are most in need.  When compared against interest rates offered by doorstep lenders and payday loans, it is estimated that ESCU has saved residents £330,000 in interest in the past year.

With additional funding from Brighton & Hove City Council and East Sussex County Council, ESCU now give further support to the most financially vulnerable people in the area. East Sussex County Council Leader, Cllr Keith Glazier is pleased ESCU have the funding to help those who most need it. He said: “This represents an excellent investment in helping the credit union to do even more to support some of the county’s most financially vulnerable residents and contributes towards our priority of helping people to help themselves.”

For those that are unable to go to banks due to disadvantaged circumstance, ESCU is setting up people with an e-mail address and their credit union account, also helping them with their application for universal credit. Cllr Keith Glazier continues to praise ESCU for the supporting members of the community who will have been in deep trouble if they had not received help. He said: “The roll-out of Universal Credit in the county may impact on residents who have to wait to switch over to the new system or who are currently not able to obtain a bank account.

“East Sussex Credit Union does a fantastic job helping people on low incomes to manage their finances and avoid falling into the trap of high-interest loans, so they have more money to spend in the local economy or to save for the future.”

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