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Money & Advice Why Credit Unions are better than Banks

Many savers and borrowers are becoming increasingly disillusioned with the big banks and are looking for alternatives. This is where Credit Unions come in.

Like Banks, Credit Unions offer savings and loans as well as some basic bank account facilities but they are not-for-profit organisations. The money saved with the Credit Union is used to lend to members - who, in the case of ESCU, are your neighbours. It is a great way of keeping your money local.

Credit Unions are run by members for members and, because of this, they are member-centric institutions. There are no shareholders to give big profits to. By becoming a member and part of the co-operative by depositing money in the Credit Union, members become part-owners and get a say in the running of the Credit Union.

Many lenders offering loans include arrangement fees in the deal - Credit Unions do not. Their loans are simple and fair. Credit Unions also look at loans on a case-by-case basis and consider how affordable the loan is for the member. This means that even if your credit history isn’t spotless, you can still apply for a loan and be given a fair appraisal of your ability to pay it back.

Credit Unions can offer simple basic bank accounts such as the Engage account that East Sussex Credit Union offer. This is a basic account that has a VISA Debit card and the application process does not require a credit check. This allows members without any credit history to access an account with a card facility that they can use in shops and online.

Credit Unions can offer good savings returns. Young Savers with East Sussex Credit Union are given 2% interest, which compared to Natwest at 0.5% {March, 2017}, is a great deal!

Members needs change throughout the year and Credit Unions offer loan options to help members depending on their needs at the time. For instance, ESCU has recently lent money for Christmas expenses, new school uniforms, college fees, a taxi to start a business, new glasses, dental work, home improvements, a new washing machine - the list goes on. Many of these things banks would not consider lending money for - and PayDay lenders would be the only alternative if Credit Unions didn’t exist.

By offering an alternative to the high interest lenders people turn to when the banks aren’t an option, Credit Unions can help members manage their debt and not get into a spiral of increasing interest payments.

So, if you like what you see, why not join a Credit Union today!

Which Credit Union should you join?

To join East Sussex Credit Union, you need to live, work or study in East Sussex, Brighton & Hove or be a member of the Unite Union in the South-east. You can join online here.

If you do not meet this ‘common bond’ criteria, then you can look for a Credit Union near you or that services the workforce you are part of at

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Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority