Welsh Government Ministers have today visited credit unions across Wales as they announced continued funding of just over £422,000 a year for the organisations which offer vital support to those struggling with their finances.
Credit Unions are not-for-profit, and owned by the people who use their services, rather than by external shareholders or investors.
Actively involved in communities throughout Wales, credit unions contribute to the economy and the financial wellbeing of members, who can save safely and borrow at an affordable rate of interest.
On a visit to Cardiff and Vale Credit Union alongside the Minister for Social Justice, the First Minister, Mark Drakeford said:
“This time of year can be particularly difficult as people are left to deal with the cost of Christmas.
“We know this winter especially, during an unprecedented cost of living crisis, many are finding it very tough and, sadly, high interest doorstep lenders or loan sharks will prey on those suffering financial difficulties.
“I would urge those struggling to turn to their local credit union, which can provide access to fair and affordable credit – in support of our journey to promote social justice and tackle poverty across Wales.”
Credit unions can help those who might traditionally find it difficult to save through offering schemes such as payroll deductions. They also offer Christmas savings schemes that only allow withdrawals in the lead up to the festive season, which helps at an often-difficult time of year.
The First Minister added:
“While many of us may not even want to think about next Christmas, now could be the perfect time to consider starting to save. Credit unions can make that process easier.”
The Welsh Government provides credit unions with revenue funding to ensure they can develop a host of projects in communities aimed at boosting membership.
In a clear demonstration of the importance of credit unions in Wales, Ministers within the Welsh Government Cabinet took part in a coordinated visit across the length and breadth of the country, raising awareness of the services they provide, which includes ethical and affordable lending.
Social Justice Minister Jane Hutt said:
“I would urge those who might be struggling and tempted to use high-cost credit to use their local credit union as a responsible alternative to other forms of lending.
“It is clear Welsh credit unions work incredibly hard, and I’d like to thank them for their commitment to providing ethical savings and affordable loans.
“They truly are a lifeline to people all across Wales.”