Marta is a Community Advocate for East Sussex Credit Union, and she has talked to us about her job and why she is so passionate about ESCU.
How long have you been working for East Sussex Credit Union and what do you do?
''I started volunteering for the ESCU in 2009, when we started running the Help Points in Eastbourne. After volunteering for about a year in May 2010, I was offered a job as Community Advocate. ''
Why do you work for ESCU?
''I really like the idea of working for an ethical, community organisation like the credit union, as it helps people to manage their money. It also gives people in East Sussex access to ethical loans and provides an opportunity to get out of debt. As you are working with people directly, you can see the difference you are making in their lives. I really like the community aspect of my work.''
How does the ESCU help people improve their financial position?
''When members take out a loan with us, their repayments include a savings element so when they have paid the loan, they also have a lump sum of savings. This savings element has been introduced to encourage people to save and not to get into debt in the future. As the ESCU can give loans to people who dont have a brilliant credit history, we are an alternative to payday loans and doorstop lenders. Our aim is to stop people paying high interest rates and help get them out of debt.''
Why should people sign up to ESCU?
''As ESCU is a co-operative people that sign up are members (not customers) and everyone has a say in how the co-operative is run. Members that choose to save with us are helping people in the local community as the money is kept within East Sussex and used to lend to other members. ESCU is growing fast and the membership has nearly tripled since I joined in 2009 which means that more people are gaining help in managing their finances and saving to help others.''