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Tenants to benefit from HA's partnership with credit union

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Tenants to benefit from HA's partnership with credit union

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Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Communities and also in Finance, Housing

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Tenants living in London's Kensington and Chelsea are set to benefit from a partnership between a credit union and a housing association.

Octavia Housing, which runs 4,000 properties in the capital, is teaming up with Kensington-based YourCredit Union in a bid to drive out doorstep lenders and to offering saving at competitive rates.

There are an estimated 24,500 ‘financially excluded’ households in the Royal Borough, each paying a ‘poverty premium’ of up to £1,000 a year through high borrowing costs, additional charges and lack of access to cheaper deals.

“As a local employer and housing provider Octavia are pleased to support YourCredit Union,” said Octavia’s chief executive Grahame Hindes, who along with Westminster MP Karen Buck, recently joined the union.

“Kensington and Chelsea is a borough of extreme socio-economic contrasts where surprisingly high numbers of residents have no access to affordable banking services.

“We see first-hand the demand that exists for a form of ethical and responsible banking. Many families and individuals are under increasing pressure to make their money go further, particularly in light of recent welfare reforms.

“YourCredit Union offers a trustworthy option for borrowers and an ethical investment opportunity for the many socially minded organisations and individuals who live in the area.”

Octavia is offering its 7,350 tenants and staff the chance to save via pay roll deduction and to apply for affordable loans – and avoiding the ruinous rates demanded by some payday lenders.

The organisation is also encouraging tenants to find out more about the benefits of joining YourCU via a reception-area video, tenants’ newsletters and at regular ‘tenant engagement’ days.

The association’s aims and ethos are based on the principles of its founder, Octavia Hill, who began her work with the poor of London in the 1860s with the purpose “make lives noble, homes happy and family life good”.

YourCU’s chief executive William Rhodes said: “We are delighted to announce the decision for Octavia Housing to partner with YourCU as their ambition and values are in line with our own and it will help us broaden the contribution we make to the communities we serve.

“It will give us an opportunity to deal directly with thousands of potential members and savers, helping them manage their personal finances and avoid having to go cap in hand to doorstep lenders or pay day loan companies.

“Our customers can save or borrow with confidence. Credit unions are not charities. Those who put in their savings get a return for their money. With current bank rates low, successful credit unions can be very competitive.”

At its recent AGM YourCu voted to increase its catchment area and is now open to lenders and borrowers from Hammersmith in the west, to Wandsworth in the south and Canary Wharf in the east.

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