Stockport Credit Union has united with other credit unions across Greater Manchester in response to the ongoing affordability crisis caused by rising household costs.
The credit union is part of the Sound Pound consortium, which has unveiled a new loan backed by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) and launched today (15 February) by the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham.
The Sound Pound loan provides a safe solution for local people who are experiencing squeezed finances due to rising household costs. The city region is unique as it is currently the only consortium of credit unions in the UK which has launched a loan product in response to the cost-of-living crisis.
According to Greater Manchester Residents Survey, a quarter (24%) of Greater Manchester residents are seeking information or support for the first time, reinforcing how the cost of living crisis is bringing financial concerns to those not traditionally experiencing them.
With deep roots in the communities they serve, credit unions provide a positive and safe solution to short-term credit pressures as they encourage saving alongside loan repayments and always act in the customer’s best interests for the long term.
Any money made by a credit union is invested back into the running of the credit union and the local area allowing them to offer fair rates to all their customers.
The new Sound Pound loan is available for any amount between £200 and £1000 and is open to anyone with squeezed finances that are new to Credit Unions.
James Gracey, vice chair of Stockport Credit Union and member of Sound Pound, said:
“With the ongoing cost of living crisis, we know there are many people living in our communities who usually get by ok but are now experiencing a real squeeze and are unsure where to turn for help.
“As credit unions, we can help and our new Sound Pound loan is our response to help local people get back on track and avoid any long term impacts of inflation and rising household costs.
“Credit unions have existed in local communities across the UK for over 50 years and responsible lending is in our DNA. We work with individuals to help them through challenging times so that they can grow their financial resilience and kickstart savings habits for the long term, whatever their income level.”
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “Credit Unions have a key role to play in the financial crisis that we all now face. I’m delighted to see them come together across Greater Manchester to provide a local and ethical alternative to the high-interest payday loan companies and loan sharks.
“Credit Unions represent a positive, safe solution to short term credit pressures.
“Sound Pound is a fantastic initiative that shows Greater Manchester is doing things differently and coming together to support each other.”
All eight Greater Manchester community credit unions have signed up to the initiative, including Cash Box Credit Union (Tameside), Hoot Credit Union (Bolton), Manchester Credit Union, Oldham Credit Union, Salford Credit Union, South Manchester Credit Union, Stockport Credit Union, and Unify Credit Union (Wigan).
Credit Unions are member-owned, not-for-profit financial co-operatives and all deposits are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
For more information, or to apply for a Sound Pound loan, visit www.soundpound.co.uk. Loan applications can be made digitally or face to face.