New figures show lending boost in cost of living crisis

Watch ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi's report on the increasing number of people using credit unions to borrow money.

New research for ITV News shows not-for-profit lenders are offering more loans as the cost of living escalates.

Our findings also show an increasing number of people are borrowing to cover everyday basics like utilities bills and rent. 

You may never have even heard about credit unions. That’s no surprise - these community lenders don’t have the advertising budgets of companies that earn from loans.

Today they started a campaign to help more people through the cost of living crisis.

Charlie-Ann Guy got into debt as her outgoings grew, she told us: Everything’s gone up, hasn’t it - so everyone’s struggling now.

"Gas and leccy’s gone through the roof - you’re having to keep up with payments and payments are not coming in quick enough to be able to cover the outgoings so you get yourself into more trouble."

She took out a loan from the Enterprise Credit Union in Liverpool and said: "The credit union just managed to give me that little bit of a boost to get through that."

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What is a credit union?

Credit unions are not-for-profit co-operative organisations that accept deposits, make loans, and provide other financial services.

Owned by their members, credit unions aim to provide saving and borrowing at reasonable rates, putting members before profit, the Credit Union National Association says.

There are 389 credit unions in the UK, with almost two million members.

A new survey for ITV News shows their loans are up almost £33 million (£32.9m) this year.

The sector claims borrowers can save as much as £350 on a typical £400 loan over six months compared with some high-cost lenders.

There are plenty of mainstream lenders but people with irregular or low incomes are often excluded.

Karen Bennett, CEO of Enterprise Credit Union, says: What we are finding now is that they’re calling on us and saying 'can I have my Christmas loan earlier because I need money to survive, you know, through this cost of living crisis'”.Interest rates are the highest for more than a decade, the cost of living is rising more than for 40 years - and as the need for help grows, the UK's community lenders are now aiming to get bigger too.

Tip: anyone wanting to check-out their local credit union can use this link

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