A NORTH EAST-focused credit union has teamed up with a major regional employer to provide better money management and workplace saving opportunities across its workforce.

NEFirst Credit Union was formed four years ago by the merger of several smaller regional-based credit unions which had been providing savings and loan accounts to members for more than two decades.

It is now working with the County Durham-based property, renewable energy and mining business The Banks Group to give more than 300 North-East staff the chance to save and invest within the region, as well as to access loans at lower interest rates that are offered by many financial services providers.

NEFirst Credit Union covers County Durham, Northumberland and Tyne and Wear, and has offices in Gateshead, Durham, North Shields and Birtley, as well as a number of regular service and collection points around the region.

It is authorised and regulated by both the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority, and the capital it holds is only ever leant or invested within the North-East.

Lou Lightfoot, group HR director at The Banks Group, said: “It’s widely acknowledged that putting money aside through your payroll is an extremely effective way of building up your savings, and as a responsible employer, we wanted to extend the provisions we make for allowing our staff to take advantage of this sort of opportunity.”

Sid Rooke, director at NEFirst Credit Union, added: “We are delighted to be working with The Banks Group to encourage the savings habit and offering low cost loans.”