People who borrowed money from the Rainbow Savers credit union in Fenland forked out £27,645 less in interest payments than they would have done if they had used payday or doorstep lenders.
The startling figure was revealed by Sally Chicken, director of Rainbow Anglia Savers, at a get-together of volunteers held to celebrate their first year’s achievements.
The figure was reached using a Department of Work and Pensions formula which enables credit unions to show the extra benefits of becoming a member.
As an example, Ms Chicken said that those who borrowed £300 from Rainbow Savers and repaid it at £9 per week would spend £30-£50 in interest. By contrast, those using Provident for the same amount would incur interest costs of about £250.
Rainbow Savers’ membership in Fenland rose by 145 per cent in the 15 months after it had opened branches in Wisbech and March.
Ms Chicken said this was due to the continued hard work and commitment of volunteers attending weekly collection points and the support for the credit union shown by councillors.
Local people were using all its products, not only borrowing and withdrawing money but also - most importantly - saving, she said.
The volunteers’ efforts were rewarded with a special certificate and commemorative badge.
n Rainbow Savers collection points in Wisbech are at the Rosmini Centre, the Oasis Centre and Barclays Bank. The one in March is at the Fenland @ your service shop.
PIC Celebrating success: Rainbow Savers volunteers