DWP minister visits PCCU in Nelson
Pennine Community Credit Union had the honour of welcoming MP Guy Opperman from the Department for Work and Pensions at our Manchester Road branch in Nelson recently. Mr Opperman joined fellow Conservative MP for Pendle, Andrew Stephenson, for a tour around our not-for-profit co-operative that provides ethical savings and affordable loan accounts to the local community.
Mr Opperman has experience in ethical finance, as he helped to create Tynedale Community Bank, another not-for-profit bank in Northumberland which also allows people to save and borrow money, with interest at a much lower rate than many other lenders.
There’s a cohort of society that needs looking after, where better to do that than a Credit Union
As part of his role at DWP Mr Opperman takes a lead on combating financial exclusion. His experience at Tynedale has identified the important role both credit unions and community banks have in giving people access to banking services, including loans to people who might otherwise not be able to access them. Mr Opperman
I know first-hand that improving financial inclusion is key to helping some of the poorest and most marginalised in society.
Deborah Smith-Hands, Chief Operating Officer Officer and Board member Mark Hirst from PCCU discussed the exciting new town centre branch the credit union is opening at 48 St James’s Street in Burnley which will open our services up to more people in the community. Mr Opperman has regularly commented on need for community led finance whilst the high street banks are leaving town centres across the country
People are fed up with banks disconnected from the local area
Both Mr Opperman and Mr Stephenson were interested to hear about the work Pennine have been doing with social enterprise SPE Furnishings in Burnley to offer an ethical alternative to the rent-to-own companies who charge high rates of interest on furniture and electricals.
The recent change in legislation has put a huge dent in the likes of Wonga and Brighthouse and I hope this brings more clients to Credit Unions
Said Mr Opperman
PCCU staff recently attended an event at the Palace of Westminster where Mr Opperman joined leading figures from the banking world and MPs from across the political spectrum to pledge their support for the credit union movement in UK.