Swindon based credit union rated best in the south

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By barrie hudson – 7 October 2022

CommunityBusiness

  • The Wiltshire and Swindon Credit Union team

An organization that lends money to low-income people to protect them from payday lenders has been voted best in the south.

Wiltshire and Swindon Credit Union (WASCU) won the Best Credit Union (South) category at the Smart Money People’s 2022 Consumer Credit Awards.

The site is the best used in the UK for financial services information and reviews.

The evaluation was based on reviews left on the site by people who use services registered with Smart Money People. In more than 170 reviews, WASCU earned an average of 4.94 out of five stars, which, according to Chairman of the Trustees Nick Gallop, is a testament to the quality of service provided by their staff.

“The office staff who deal with members have done a fantastic job and this is a reward for that,” he said.

“I am delighted by everyone involved with the organization and it is very satisfying to be recognized like this. I see it as a motivation to do more.”

The group, formed in 2016 from four separate credit unions in Wiltshire, is based in Cavendish Square, Swindon, but has collection points across the county. It lends over £1 million a year to 3,500 active members and is seeing a steady rise in demand, partly due to the cost of living crisis.

Their loans are designed to help families who can’t get credit elsewhere, and to keep them from turning to crippling payday loan companies or even illegal loan sharks.

Members open savings accounts and, as long as they meet the lending criteria, can take out loans, which are paid monthly.

Its most popular product is the Family Loan, which requires members to pay their Child Benefit into their savings account. They can then take out a maximum loan of £500 and the credit union takes their weekly refund directly from the benefit before transferring the balance on the same day.

The awards cover the entire credit industry, including loan providers, credit unions, credit reporting partners, retail finance and more.

Along with the star ratings, members were encouraged to leave feedback on the service. “When you need to borrow money, the only ones that will offer you anything are the most ridiculous APR payday loans you are paying twice as much,” one member wrote.

“The credit union will only offer what you can afford and tell you to save without a ridiculous APR. I have been using this credit union for a few years and it has helped me through Christmas, appliance replacement, and a family vacation. I couldn’t have done this without being able to borrow from them.”

Another added: “I was overjoyed when the credit union was able to help me after an accident left me struggling to work and support my eight year old son. The professional care, efficiency and empathy were second to none and I cannot recommend this organization highly enough.”

Yet another member said: “I have been both a borrower and a saver, the latter these days, but they were there years ago when I needed them and I haven’t forgotten them.

“I still save in my account, although a little each month. The most useful thing is that it comes out of my salary and I can forget about it.”

Nick Gallop added: “The special thing we have done is provide quality service and a way of treating people with dignity. Some of those who come to us were just getting by and then their refrigerator stopped working or they needed to buy new shoes for three kids going back to school.

“We treat them in a really helpful and constructive way and that is why they have left such lovely reviews of our service and it is wonderful that we have won this award.”

More information about the credit union can be found at wascu.es

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