Thursday, 3 November 2011

Can we do without banks?

Banks are discredited, say Lancaster's Green Party. They do nothing to encourage responsible
attitudes to money and ignore the needs of the poorest.  Is there any alternative?

That's the issue that will b discussed at a public meeting on Tuesday 8th November, at 7.30pm at Friends Meeting House, Lancaster.

Barbara Sanders of the Burnley Community Credit Union will be on hand to talk about how BCCU has developed into a viable alternative to mainstream finance for residents of Burnley.

Credit Unions originated in Germany in the 19th century for the purpose of assisting people to help themselves out of debt and poverty. They operate not for profit or charity but to serve their members. Each Credit Union is a separate autonomous organisation and manages its own affairs.

Over 500,000 people in the UK enjoy the benefits of Credit Union membership.

Credit Unions have been established in Burnley since 1989, although membership was restricted to residents of particular areas of the town. In August 2000 a significant breakthrough was achieved when the Registrar of Friendly Societies, who were responsible for regulating Credit Unions formally lifted this restriction. This meant that anyone living, working, or being educated in the Borough of Burnley became eligible for Membership of Burnley Area Community Credit Union Ltd.

The BCCU's aim is to provide a useful financial service to their members. So far over 1000 local people now save regularly with the Credit Union and they have granted hundreds of loans over the past ten years of service to their local community.

The income generated from these loans is given back to savers by way of an annual dividend, which means that money generated in Burnley is spent largely in Burnley and does not disappear from our local economy.

Perhaps this meeting might be the start of one in Lancaster?

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