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Credit union 'the way forward' says union and council

The NEFirst Credit Union has opened its first town centre branch in Gateshead.

MPs and councillors attended the opening at which a plaque was unveiled by Rodney Bickerstaffe, the former general secretary of UNISON. NEFirst has 7,000 savers and assets of £2.5m. Its aim is to rival banks and building societies on the High Street.

Here are Rodney Bickerstaffe, a former General Secretary of Unison and Cllr Mick Henry, the leader of Gateshead Council: