Credit union partners with West Country housing associations to offer products

The partnership will focus on financial resilience and providing ethical alternatives to loan sharks

Westcountry Savings & Loans (WS&L) credit union has announced a partnership with several of housing associations in south-west England to offer tenants and staff access to its services and products.

Under a three-year Credit Union Sustainability Partnership (CUSP), WS&L will work with nine housing associations across the region, who together manage over 80,000 homes, to highlight the benefits of becoming a credit union member.

The housing associations taking part are Cornwall Housing, Sovereign Network Group, Ocean Housing, Westward, North Devon Homes, Cornerstone, Teign Housing, Live West and Alliance Homes.

Helping people to build financial resilience and raising awareness about the consequences of borrowing from high-interest lenders, including loan sharks, will be focal points of the partnership.

In addition, CUSP will serve as a platform for raising the profile of WS&L and the important role not-for-profit credit unions play in the communities where they operate by offering an ethical alternative to traditional banking and credit institutions.

Key services and products include safe and secure savings accounts, affordable, ethical loans with competitive rates to those that often need them most and financial wellbeing information and guidance.

This approach aligns with the aims of non-profit community landlords, making CUSP an ideal collaborative initiative for helping more people across the region achieve financial stability in challenging times.

Jackie Simpson, CEO of WS&L, said: “Our growing membership numbers tell us that the services Westcountry Savings & Loans provides are as in-demand today across the region as ever. By partnering with housing providers across the South West, we are extending our reach further into local communities and ensuring that households who really stand to benefit from our loans and savings products know there are alternatives to high-interest lenders. This has long been one of our key aims and is something I look forward to building on with our CUSP partners in the coming years.”

Martyn Gimber, chair of the CUSP partnership and CEO of North Devon Homes, said: “We look forward to making a real difference to communities we serve across the region. I am excited to bring together all aspects of the work of our landlord partners, their staff, customers and their contractors as a true collaboration that will bring enormous benefit to so many for years to come.”