Barclays gets behind Wisbech Rainbow Savers which offers alternative to payday loan companies
14:59 24 January 2014
A Fenland credit union has received the backing of one of the country’s major banks.
Barclays have agreed to refer people they can’t assist to Wisbech Rainbow Savers Credit Union.
Staff at the Barclays Wisbech branch have been given training on the benefits Rainbow Savers can offer people who are not able to open a bank account, but can have an alternative account with a credit union.
Wisbech Rainbow Savers offers safe savings accounts, small loans at low interest rates and free life assurance - providing an alternative to banks, building societies, doorstep lenders and payday loan companies.
Alison Claxton, of Barclays, said: “Credit unions play a vital role in helping people to manage their finances when they are not able to have a bank account.
“The training has helped us to understand what services Rainbow Savers offer so that we can direct people to them when they need help and support.”
Wisbech Rainbow Savers has proved a resounding success - more than 100 people have set up accounts with the credit union since it opened a year ago.
Among the people to have signed up is North East Cambs MP Steve Barclay.
He said: “It is important that people are aware of the potential benefits of credit unions rather than looking to pay day lenders or loan sharks when they are in need of financial support and guidance.
“Credit unions such as Rainbow Savers not only help members save regularly but lend to members at low rates of interest.
“Seasonal and agricultural workers often find it difficult to get bank accounts so are paid by cheque by their gang masters. This costs the company money - about 30p per cheque.
“It can then cost the employee as much as 10 per cent of their wages to cash their pay cheque through money shops, some of which charge as much as £26 for a cheque of £250.
“The benefits of opening up a credit union account such as lower interest loans are available to everyone wanting to save responsibly.”
Fenland District Councillor Virginia Bucknor volunteers at Rainbow Savers with her husband Councillor Mike Bucknor.
She says to have the support of a bank like Barclays is a massive boost.
She said: “We are delighted to have the support of and be taking referrals from Barclays.
“One example is our prepaid debit card. This is ideal for people who cannot have a full service bank account.
“Forward thinking banks like Barclays see that we can complement their work and we hope to send referrals to them as we are a stepping stone to banking.”
March Rainbow Savers - a March equivalent to the Wisbech credit union - was set up earlier this month.
To join Rainbow Savers people can go to The Rosmini Centre on Tuesdays between 2-4, on Thursdays at The Oasis Centre between 12-2 and at March on Wednesdays between 10-2 at @Your Service shop in Broad Street.