The Sound Pound network of Greater Manchester credit unions is launching a Covid-19 £15m recovery plan for the city region.
The consortium of eight credit unions wants to show communities across Greater Manchester that “there is light at the end of the tunnel and that their local community credit union is there to support them at this time of uncertainty and financial hardship”.
David Batten, chief executive of Hoot Credit Union in Bolton and chair of the Sound Pound consortium, said: “We have come together to launch this joint recovery plan which has a clear objective – to rebuild communities, support people and lend responsibly.”
By supporting people and lending responsibly, the Sound Pound consortium says it will also help to provide a vital boost to the local economy.
Mr Batten added: “We want to encourage anyone who is struggling financially due to the impact of Covid to speak to their community credit union about their borrowing needs. By supporting local people and offering them credit, it will increase spending and keep our economy moving forward. It’s a cycle and, if we work together, we can keep going.”
Manchester Credit Union, South Manchester Credit Union, Stockport Credit Union, Cash Box Credit Union (Tameside), Unify Credit Union (Wigan), Hoot Credit Union (Bolton), Salford Credit Union and Oldham Credit Union have all signed up to the joint initiative.
Angela Fishwick, chief executive of Unify Credit Union, said: “Our communities are really struggling right now. Many who never experienced debt or hardship before, are facing a very uncertain future and we can help. Because of the unique way that credit unions operate, we are able to lend money to help them with their day to day living costs and even help them save for a more secure future.”
Nathan Walters, member of Cash Box Credit Union in Tameside, said: “I first joined Cash Box because I wanted to start saving but they really came to my rescue recently when I needed urgent financial support. They are so friendly and helpful and because they are a part of my community they really understand me and my circumstances.”
Mr Batten said: “Credit unions offer support to local people whatever their needs are. Whether they are a single parent struggling to make ends meet, are looking for a deposit for their first home or need some help with managing their finances and putting some money away. Credit unions are also there to support local businesses and we offer a range of support services to help them with the increasing pressures they are currently experiencing.
“Our Sound Pound recovery plan has been created to rebuild communities, support people and lend responsibly and it will play a crucial role in driving our local economy forward, helping all of us to build back better from the impacts being felt by our communities across Greater Manchester due to the Covid-19 pandemic.”