‘We beat Wonga because we are a community’

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A credit union which has been offering financial help and support to people in Dacorum for 15 years says it remains strong and secure despite the advent of payday loan companies.

Organisations such as the Dacorum First Credit Union have been given national publicity since the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby announced his aim to challenge the likes of Wonga and QuickQuid through alternative loan sources such as credit unions.

Sally Taylor, director and loans officer at the Hemel Hempstead-based credit union, said the volunteer organisation is experiencing a rise in people seeking loans, and she expects this to continue as a result of recent changes to the benefit system.

She said: “We are the forgotten arm of finance, and we are so little publicised compared to other options such as payday loans. People come to us and don’t really know what we are all about, but we are financially secure.

“The main thing about us is that we are a community. We want what’s best for our members and their money, we are not trying to make a profit for shareholders somewhere else in the world.”

Sally cites the example that borrowing £100 on a payday loan could lead to a debt of £125 by the end of the month.

“With Dacorum First, you would pay back just £101, and all of the credit union’s profits at the end of the year are returned to members.

Anybody who lives or works in Dacorum can apply to be a member of the Dacorum First Credit Union.

To find out more or to join, call in to one of the collection points in Bridge Street, Highfield Community Centre or Chaulden Community Centre. Alternatively, call 01442 240250 or email dfcultd@yahoo.co.uk. Membership is free but there is a £5 deposit.