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: