Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation

Greater Manchester Credit Unions have joined forces to take on national lenders

People across Greater Manchester are being supported to break free from debt by a new partnership of local loans and savings providers.

Greater Manchester credit unions have joined forces to create a new consortium – called SoundPound - to take on national lenders and show people there is an ethical, local alternative that could save borrowers hundreds of pounds.

SoundPound is holding a Credit Union Awareness Week between October 16-20 – with a Halloween campaign theme – ‘Don’t get spooked by rip off lenders – GET LOCAL’ to raise awareness of the dangers of turning to national and doorstep lenders, as well as using expensive credit cards.

Angela Fishwick, chief executive of Unify Credit Union, based in Wigan, which is part of the SoundPound consortium, said: “Too many people in Greater Manchester are turning to pay day lenders, expensive credit cards and doorstep lenders to help get them through each month or when in a financial crisis.

“But this can mean they end up in a cycle of debt that is not easy to break. SoundPound partners are ethical lenders that want to help combat this problem, making sure people get a fair deal on a loan, while also encouraging saving.

“It is free and easy to join a local credit union, with the benefit of an online, phone, and email service as well as a central branch. We put people at the heart of everything that we do – unlike faceless national lenders.
“But we do know how easy it can be to get tricked by shiny offers made by slick national lenders, which is why local credit unions across Greater Manchester have come together to form SoundPound and lead the way for the North.

“We don’t want people in Greater Manchester to get spooked by rip off lenders – we want you to get local.

“The good news is, that thousands of people are already choosing not only to borrow with the Greater Manchester consortium of lenders but save with us too, keeping £24 million in the local economy. We would urge more people to get in touch to find out how you could borrow and save, employers too – who can sign up as payroll partners.”

The Greater Manchester Credit Union Awareness Week is being supported by Mayor of Greater Manchester – Andy Burnham – who is a member of Unify Credit Union.

He said: “Our community credit unions are the local, ethical alternative to the high-interest payday loan companies and loan sharks.

“In this Credit Union Awareness Week, I hope even more people in Greater Manchester will sign up to their local credit union and show that there is a real, local, alternative when it comes to saving and borrowing.”

To find your local credit union go to www.soundpound.co.uk