LABOUR/CO-OP MP Angela Smith has opened Basildon Credit Union.
At the launch, Angela said: "As a member of the Co-operative Party, as well as the Labour Party, pleased to see this local initiative.
"Because credit unions are financial co-operatives owned and controlled by their members, able to offer savings and great value loans.
"Different to banks and building societies, because plus they are: local, ethical and know what their members want.
"They respond to their members' needs because create a "common bond" which determines who can join it. Collective response to individual money matters.
"Credit unions have the support of the Government's treasury Ministers. Why? Because they provide affordable credit and face-to-face advice on money matters.
"As an MP, I hear first hand horror stories of constituents who have got heavily into debt with unscrupulous money lenders or with even established, High Street names. Credit unions are one way out of this."