CLWYD SOUTH AM KEN SKATES has called for the Welsh Government to extend its funding support for North Wales Credit Union beyond the end of this year.
The current £5.5m package of funding for credit unions in Wales ends in December 2013. The AM said though credit unions including North Wales Credit Union (NWCU) had been a big success, Welsh Government and EU support needed to be extended to allow them to become financial independent.
There are 22 credit unions covering the whole of Wales providing services to more than 62,000 adults and young savers, 17 of which have had public funding.
CLWYD SOUTH AM KEN SKATES said:
“The work done by the North Wales Credit Union is absolutely vital in helping vulnerable people get access to affordable and responsible credit. Welsh Government support has helped with the recent merger and help set up an innovative new website.
“However my fear is that some credit unions currently being supported by the Welsh Government around Wales aren’t quite ready to exist without additional funding support beyond this year.
“During these sluggish economic times, my constituents are still crying out for affordable loans and credit and a trusted way to save their money. This trend is only set to increase. The Money Advice Trust has said that demand for debt advice will increase by 23% in Wales by 2014.
“We do need to support credit unions in their development for a little while longer. It may have to be more strategic in approach, but certainly there is need to fund credit unions toward the long-term goal of financial sustainability.
“The alternative is that vulnerable people will instead turn to doorstep lenders or ruthless payday loan companies charging exorbitant rates of interest running into the thousands of percent.
“Credit unions play an important part in delivering on our commitment to tackle poverty and they must be supported.”
North Wales Credit Union (NWCU) offers a wide range of financial services to everyone living or working in Anglesey, Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Gwynedd and Wrexham.