Mary backs Credit Union services in post offices
Wakefield MP Mary Creagh and the White Rose Credit Union are backing a new scheme to make credit union services available at every Post Office counter across the country. Mary pledged to support the link-up of credit unions and post offices at an event in Parliament this week. The move would mean White Rose members could access their account in any Post Office.
Credit unions are financial co-operatives, owned and controlled by their members, who provide inclusive financial services to communities up and down the country. As ethical, not-for-profit organisations they are often the only place for low-income families to put a little aside in savings each week or to access fair, affordable loans.
The proposed scheme would require an investment of only a few million pounds in order to set up behind-the-scenes IT and administration systems allowing any credit union member to walk into any Post Office branch and access their account. Good news for credit unions and their members, but also for the Post Office which would benefit from new income. This is particularly important as the government has cancelled the previous Labour government’s plan to introduce banking services to the Post Office.
Mary said: “Credit unions like the White Rose provide an important service in our community – helping everyone, including those on the lowest incomes, manage their finances and access services on fair terms. Similarly, the Post Office provides many valued and trusted services in our communities – including to many on a low-income such as those on benefits or the state pension.
“Making credit union services available through the Post Office would cost relatively little whilst giving everyone access to fair financial services and helping to secure the future of the local sub-post office.
“I am backing the plan to put credit union services in the Post Office.”
Richard Stevens – Manager of the White Rose Credit Union said “One of the biggest issues Credit Unions have to deal with is the inaccessibility of their services to all potential members in their common bond. The introduction of the Post Office service would transform that situation overnight, enabling everyone who lives or works within the Wakefield Metropolitan District, to easily access Credit Union services. White Rose is one of twenty-five Credit Unions in the Country that offer Current Account facilities for members as well as having a partnership with the Co-operative e-store which offers excellent value for members on a wide range of electrical goods, proving that the movement is no longer only able to provide a ‘Saving and Loan’ service. Of course, savings and loans are still the core business and White Rose are committed to continue to offer ethical savings accounts alongside a responsible and affordable loan policy”
Mark Lyonette, ABCUL Chief Executive, said of the plan: “Credit unions have been transformed over the last decade tripling membership and more than quadrupling their assets. Nowadays they provide a very familiar service including current accounts, cash ISAs, Child Trust Funds, insurance and even mortgages as well as the traditional savings and loans services.
“One of the key challenges now is to scale-up in order that credit unions are accessible to many millions of people. Without a branch network this is very difficult to achieve and whilst credit unions have the services, the Post Office has the network. Our proposal would see credit unions become visible and accessible on almost every high street whilst creating welcome new income for the Post Office.”