Staff at Barclays Bank in Wisbech have been given specialist training to help people who cannot open a normal bank account.
Barclays is an active supporter of credit unions nationally, are the Wisbech branch is working closely with the Wisbech Rainbow Savers Credit Union.
Staff at the branch have been given an overview and training on the benefits that Rainbow Savers can offer people who are not able to open a bank account, but can have an alternative account with a credit union.
Alison Claxton at Barclays, said: “Credit Unions play a vital role in helping people to manage their finances when they are not able to have a bank account. The training has helped us to understand what services Rainbow Savers offer so that we can direct people to them when they need help and support.”
Sally Chicken, Volunteer Chairman of Rainbow Savers Credit Union, who is providing the training said: “We are delighted to be taking referrals from Barclays. One example is our prepaid debit card. This is ideal for people who cannot have a full service bank account. Forward thinking banks like Barclays see that we can complement their work and we hope to send referrals to them as we are a stepping stone to banking. “
Fenland District and Wisbech Town Councillors Virginia and Michael Bucknor, who both volunteer with Rainbow Savers, are pleased that the bank has been so supportive and hope that other banks in the town will follow the good example set by Barclays.
And they are also delighted that local MP Steve Barclay has also offered the scheme his support.
He said: “I am very pleased that increasing numbers of high street banks are coming on board to support locally run credit unions. It is important that people are aware of the potential benefits of credit unions rather than looking to pay day lenders or loan sharks when they are in need of financial support and guidance. Credit unions such as Rainbow Savers not only help members save regularly but lend to members at low rates of interest.
“Seasonal and agricultural workers often find it difficult to get bank accounts so are paid by cheque by their gang masters. This costs the company money - around 30p per cheque. It can then cost the employee as much as 10 per cent of their wages to cash their pay cheque through money shops, some of which charge as much as £26 for a cheque of £250.
“The benefits of opening up a credit union account such as lower interest loans are available to everyone wanting to save responsibly. The costs are kept low as it is run by trained volunteers and I’m pleased to learn of the good work that these volunteers do, both at The Oasis Centre and the Rosmini.
Mr Bucknor said another benefit of joining Rainbow Savers is that if people paid their child allowance into the credit union they could get a loan straight-away at low rates. Joining Rainbow Savers also entitles members to free life insurance.
To join Rainbow Savers people can go to The Rosmini Centre on Tuesdays between 2-4, on Thursdays at The Oasis Centre between 12-2 and at March on Wednesdays between 10-2 at @Your Service shop in Broad Street.
Further information is also available on: www.rainbowsaver.co.uk
* The making money count bus will be in Furrowfields, Chatteris on Wednesday (February 5) from 10am to 1pm.