People who live and work in Barking and Dagenham will now be able to access simple, hassle-free savings accounts and affordable loans thanks to a collaboration between the Council and the Leeds Credit Union (LCU) – Barking and Dagenham Money (BD Money).
By working with LCU, the Council aims to help residents become more financially secure, keep more money in their pockets, and access appropriate services to meet their financial needs and ambitions.
A report commissioned by the Council from 2020 showed that at least 6,000 households in the borough took out more than 20,000 subprime loans, totaling more than £9.4million each year, and repaid £7.3million in exorbitant interest and fees. The situation has only worsened since, with the current crisis in the cost of living.
Councilor Saima Ashraf, Deputy Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council and Cabinet Member for Community Engagement and Leadership, said: “Times are really difficult at the moment and we are doing everything we can to support residents. . The launch of BD Money couldn’t have come at a better time and provides our residents with more affordable borrowing options.
“Now more than ever, many people across the country are facing the cost of living crisis and we want to ensure that all options are available in terms of the support residents can access – including exploring borrowing options instead of high cost lenders.
“We look forward to working with Leeds Credit Union to provide a trusted service to our residents in savings accounts, loans and much more.”
In operation for more than 35 years, LCU is one of the largest credit unions in the country. As a not-for-profit, member-owned and managed mutual, it offers an ethical alternative to traditional banks and a better choice than high-interest lenders. It is especially useful for those who cannot access traditional banking services or borrow from places such as payday and home lenders. LCU conducted a survey earlier this year which found that 49% of respondents said they saw their financial situation deteriorate. However, 96% of its members said they would “definitely recommend” the credit union to help ease these tensions.
Paul Kaye, CEO of Leeds Credit Union, said: “Leeds Credit Union is delighted to be working with Barking and Dagenham Council on this initiative to offer our wide range of savings and loans to support residents of the borough. We already serve over 35,000 members, helping them access savings accounts to help with budgeting as well as a variety of loans. This can range from a small short term need of £500 to larger long term needs of up to £25,000 for anything from a car repair to debt consolidation and family loans . As a mutual, we offer fair and ethical products for the benefit of all our members.
Through this partnership, BD Money will offer a variety of savings accounts, including regular savings, Christmas club, youth savers and membership accounts, as well as access to various responsible lending facilities and affordable. LCU prides itself on providing its members with the most appropriate services based on their individual circumstances.
For more information on BD Money’s affordable savings and loan products, as well as a range of financial support tools and advice, visit www.bdmoney.org.uk.