Credit Union helps spread the cost of Christmas

Burnley and Pendle’s credit union is helping to spread plenty of festive cheer this year.
Kathryn FoggKathryn Fogg
Kathryn Fogg

The not for profit co-operative has been helping families make their Christmas that little bit more special thanks to its very own Christmas Account.

The account, which allows people to save as much or as little as they like, only allows withdrawals during November and December. More than £125,000 has been saved by members this year, a fact that Chief Executive Kathryn Fogg believes highlights the credit union’s growing importance.

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“Unlike other types of Christmas saving schemes, you can spend your money wherever you like, not being tied to certain stores. The Christmas Account saw a large increase after the collapse of Farepak’s voucher scheme a few years ago. Unlike voucher schemes, Pennine Community Credit Union savings accounts are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme so you know your money is safe.”

PCCU was formed in 1982 and with offices in Manchester Road, Nelson, the Calico Building, Burnley and Shackleton Hall, Colne, now boasts close to 7,000 adult and junior members.

Kathryn added: “Every Christmas we aim to offer an alternative to the high interest doorstep lenders, payday loans and the pay weekly stores that operate in town. Working in partnership with the local Housing Associations we have been working on informing and educating Burnley and Pendle’s residents on budgeting for an affordable Christmas.

“We also provide affordable loans to spread the cost of Christmas over the year, We believe in responsible lending; we never encourage anyone to borrow more than they can afford and we don’t charge set-up or application fees.

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“When someone applies for a loan from us, we assess each application carefully to make sure they can afford to repay it, and tailor their repayments to suit their financial situation – something payday and doorstep lenders don’t do. Whilst members have a loan with PCCU they ask that members save alongside of it, working into their comfortable repayments a savings element.

“Last week PCCU issued their 25,000th loan to help another family cover the cost of Christmas. As PCCU is run by members for the benefit of members, it really is ‘People helping People’. Some people take loans out just to go away on holiday to escape the Christmas period.”