The East Sussex Credit Union is a safeguard against loan sharks

Jason Kitcat was the first online sign-up to East Sussex Credit Union
Jason Kitcat was the first online sign-up to East Sussex Credit Union

The East Sussex Credit Union has recently reached a record £2 million balance sheet.

The East Sussex Credit Union has recently reached a record £2 million balance sheet.

Thousands of residents in Brighton and Hove and in East Sussex have chosen to put their savings into this local, not-for-profit co-operative.

The union now also offers savings accounts to community groups, as well as business loans of up to £15,000 to small local businesses and social enterprises.

The community organisation behind the Lewes Pound, the local currency, is the first business member of the union.

Set up in 2004, the credit union provides secure savings accounts and affordable lending to local residents.

By providing an alternative to traditional banks - and far-less-scrupulous loan sharks - they combat poverty in our communities and help residents across the country become more economically independent.

EastSussexCreditUnionLogoAnyone who is a member of the credit union also automatically becomes a shareholder of the organisation.

Unlike the big banks, the co-operative structure means that profits are given back to members as a dividend.

As a result, the benefits of the credit union’s growth go straight back into the pockets of us, the local community.

Through the citywide Moneyworks programme, the credit union often supports to people who are sometimes not able to access credit or bank accounts with mainstream banks.

The credit union isable to make smaller, faster loans to those in financial trouble, and compete against payday lenders to ensure people in need don’t end up in a debt trap.

The costs of Christmas can mount up quickly, and many residents struggle to make ends meet.

Payday lenders and loan sharks have the resources to exploit people in trouble, so it’s crucial that we make sure affordable, ethical and local financial support is as accessible as possible to people in our communities.