Greater Manchester Community credit unions see a huge increase in members as many struggle with the impact of Covid

Greater Manchester credit unions have seen a huge increase in members as people continue to struggle with the impact of Coronavirus.

As non-profit financial organisations, we offer an opportunity of credit to everyone including the financially excluded. 

In November, we launched our Covid-19 recovery plan, offering £15 million to rebuild local communities through our affordable lending offer. 

Sheenagh Young, CEO of South Manchester Credit Union, says “We are definitely seeing younger people coming to us. They are finding that we are more accessible than they realised because of our digital approach. This is positive because I think it is particularly hard for young people at the moment and their life chances are so affected by Covid”.

Darren Howard is one person who has benefitted from a loan with South Manchester Credit Union. Back in August, Darren started his building business and soon worked out he needed a new van. To be able to afford it, he needed a loan but did not want to be hit by high-interest rates. Darren says “I use my local credit union because the interest rates are low and it is quick and easy. Money’s in the bank within the week… and it’s very straightforward.” 

We have also helped Sherita Mandongwe, a member of Manchester Credit Union. She took out loans to support her family and fund her university degree. Last year, she won individual Volunteer of the year at the Manchester Be Proud Award after setting up her own children’s charity. 

Sheenagh and her colleagues have been kept busy throughout lockdown. She has also seen that for some people lockdown has been a time where they have built up their savings. 

Sheenagh says “We are finding that for some people lockdown has been a time when they have been able to save as their spending has gone down. Perhaps they have been doing extra hours as a key worker and are now starting to think of their finances differently”.