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Thousands of vulnerable residents said their money would be safe after Bristol Credit Union announced the merger


Thousands of vulnerable residents have been reassured that their savings and loans will be safe with Bristol Credit Union (BCU) after a merger was discovered.

The nonprofit social enterprise, which provides cheap funding to people in times of crisis to help them keep a roof over their heads and interest-free loans to shelter the homeless, has reached an agreement to partner with neighboring Wyvern Savings and credit union.

Bristol City Council cabinet members on Tuesday November 3rd supported the move, which is required as the local authority is an investor.

Last year the council invested £ 500,000 in BCU so that it could provide more credit to households in the most deprived areas of the city that might otherwise be borrowed from expensive lenders.

Deputy Mayor Cllr Craig Cheney told the remote meeting, “With Covid this is more important than ever and credit unions that provide loans to people at risk of homelessness are an example of investing in those most in need.

“There are approximately 2,800 BCU members saving at the credit union, which is nearly £ 5 million in savings that recirculates locally and supports our regional economy.

“The cheap loans also benefit the region as more money stays on site, which supports independent local businesses and businesses.

“BCU has supported over 500 independent companies and 1,500 customers, saving members over £ 2 million in interest annually compared to expensive loans.”

Cllr Cheney said the voluntary merger would expand the geographic area of ​​the organization but ensure that the proposals “will in no way affect existing members.”

He said: “The BCU has committed to maintaining a substantial portion of the merged loan book to serve the citizens of Bristol.

“Subject to financial due diligence, I ask the cabinet to support the merged union and I wish them every success.”

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A report to the cabinet said the BCU had more than 15,000 members – including those with loans and savings – over three-quarters of whom were in Bristol while the rest were in the west of England.

Current loans to customers are in excess of £ 6.5 million, including £ 4.4 million to residents and businesses in the city.

The report said the merger would make the new credit union “financially healthier” and potentially increase the amount of money available for credit, although there is a risk that focus will shift away from Bristol and members and depositors may be lost.

“Investing in BCU allows the credit union to expand and grow, and offers an increased number of low-cost loans to citizens across Bristol who need funds during times of crisis to bridge those times of crisis,” it said.

“Examples of these loans are means of minimizing the risk of rent or home loss that could affect individuals and families, which could result in a greater burden on the public sector in general.”

The other BCU investors requiring approval have already approved the changes.

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