North East Wales

New Wrexham Credit Union opened by minister

Wrexham Credit Union
Image caption Carl Sargeant [centre] joins staff at the Wrexham Credit Union building

A refurbished branch of Wrexham Credit Union has been opened, amid a big rise in membership of the financial co-operatives in recent years.

The opening was carried out by Social Justice Minister Carl Sargeant, who last year approved £1m in funding for new credit unions across Wales.

It follows a five-fold growth in membership of the groups over the past decade.

The Wrexham branch had a £146,000 grant to buy and refit larger premises.

Membership of the financial co-operatives across Wales has increased from 10,000 in 2000 to more than 50,000 by the end of 2009.

Surge in demand

Credit unions in Wales say there has been a big surge in demand for loans amid the economic downturn, with many people refused help by the banks.

The co-ops are non-profit making bodies run by local people, and can offer loans and savings accounts.

Everyone in Wales can now access a credit union, with 29 set up across the 22 local authorities.

Speaking at the opening, Mr Sargeant said: "Credit unions are a safe and affordable way of saving and borrowing money.

"I am delighted to see so many people in Wrexham taking advantage of the services on offer here. Membership is open to all, and I would encourage everyone to join.

"I am a credit union member myself and feel reassured that my money is safe and that trustworthy financial help and advice is available should I need it."

Credit Unions offer a range of services, are owned by their members and are regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

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