Hull North MP Diana Johnson this Friday (13 October) becomes the 4,000th person to sign up as a member of Hull and East Yorkshire Credit Union (HEYCU).
The MP will be present at a special signing up session is to held at the Credit Union's headquarters in Queens Gardens, Guildhall Road, Hull, to mark International Credit Union Day 2006.
HEYCU was founded by a group of Hull residents in 1999 as a not-for-profit financial co-operative dedicated to bringing affordable financial services to the people of Hull and East Yorkshire.
They are part of a world-wide movement which now boasts over 118 million members living in 79 countries. Because they are owned by their members on a mutual basis, everything credit unions do is for their members' benefit. Many have developed an impressive range of services, including easy ways to save, affordable loans, insurance plans and money advice workers.
During its seven-year life, HEYCU has grown rapidly and gained recognition as one of the most dynamic credit unions in Britain. Its members have collectively saved up over £2.2 million and benefited from more than £5 million worth of low-cost loans. It has opened branches in Bridlington, Driffield and Beverley and is now launching a network of community contact points in West Hull where people can access its services as close to home as possible.
HEYCU is also one of nine credit unions planning to pioneer a Credit Union Current Account service later this year, giving members a full range of banking services. They will be able to have all their benefits and wages paid in direct, use cash machines and debit cards and set up regular payments.
Diana Johnson MP said: "It is a pleasure to be joining Hull and East Yorkshire Credit Union at this momentous time in its history. I congratulate the staff and volunteers on all they have achieved so far.
"In just seven years, the credit union has made a huge impact on the well-being of my constituents, who no longer have to resort to costly doorstep loan sharks when they need small loans. Credit unions have a key role in combating financial exclusion and poverty, while promoting savings and independence. I am sure that credit unions will prove even more popular in the years ahead as people discover the difference they make."
John Smith, HEYCU's Secretary, said: "By operating as not-for-profit organisations, credit unions can both charge lower rates on loans and reward their members with a yearly dividend on their savings.
"Our members paid £150,000 in loan interest last year. If they had taken out the same loans with doorstep lenders, they would have paid around £1 million. We are helping local people to save and regain control over their own money."