New Norwich bank aims to help people avoid loan sharks
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A new community bank has opened its doors in Norwich, aiming to help keep people out of the grip of illegal loan sharks.
The Norwich City Community Bank is the latest branch of Norfolk Credit Union and is a bank with a difference - in that it is owned by the people who use it.
Officially opened on Saturday, the bank, at St Edmund’s House in Oak Street, offers savings accounts, affordable loans and the Credit Union Current Account.
Barclays Bank picked the Norfolk Credit Union as one of six projects to hand a share of £250,000 to, which has helped get the bank up and running.
Norfolk Credit Union manager Hellen Hammond said: “The demand for the services of credit unions has increased dramatically over the years but more so during recent months as more people look for a more affordable and local way to manage their money.
“We recognise the need to offer our services within Norwich City and would therefore extend our sincere gratitude to Barclays who have assisted us with making this new branch possible.
“In conjunction with the new branch we have launched our new Budgeting Account Service which will enable us to work with people who struggle to manage their money and meet their financial obligations.”
Norwich North MP Chloe Smith, who was at the official opening and helped the Norfolk Credit Union apply for the Barclays grant, said: “This is a really excellent achievement for Norwich and is testament to the strength of our local credit unions.
“The Norwich Community Bank is good news for Norwich people who can get simple and reliable local banking services.
“Especially in tough times, finances can be hard for people to manage successfully. Credit unions play a crucial role in helping people get affordable and safer credit.”
Irene East, from Barclays, said: “As part of our ongoing commitment to financial inclusion, the fund is targeted at organisations that support individuals who may otherwise be restricted to accessing high cost credit or taking out illegal loans.”
The bank is open from 9am until 4.30pm Monday to Fridays.