THREE organisations are joining forces to help people in Darlington access affordable and responsible banking services, alongside wrap-around financial support.

Darlington Borough Council and Darlington Building Society have agreed a package of financial support for Darlington Credit Union, which has been helping local people since 2009.

The support package will enable more people in need to benefit from the financial services and support that Darlington Credit Union is known for across the town, and in doing so avoid the dangers of high-cost lenders and loan sharks.

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Darlington Borough Council's cabinet recently agreed a further package to support the future growth of the credit union.

This will be made up of government funding to support organisations through the pandemic, topped up with an interest-free loan repayable over ten years.

With increasing numbers of people struggling financially, this investment has come at a crucial time.

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In 2018 11.5 million people had less than £100 in savings and the ongoing impact of Covid-19 is dragging more people into financial crisis.

The Financial Conduct Authority found that between March and October 2020, the number of adults in the UK with characteristics of financial vulnerability increased by 3.7 million to 27.7 million, with 5.6 million likely to use a foodbank.

The effectiveness of credit unions is long documented and a recent report has highlighted the opportunities of expansion of credit unions in improving the health and wellbeing of communities as well as increased productivity and economic resilience of citizens.

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Matthew Snedker, Chair of Darlington Credit Union, speaking about the partnership, said: “Darlington Credit Union is hugely thankful for the investment of both Darlington Building Society and Darlington Borough Council.

“Both are excellent partners, not least because they share our aim to help local people avoid financial crisis.

“The investment will help Darlington Credit Union as we further develop the organisation for the benefit of our community.”

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Councillor Jonathan Dulston, deputy leader of Darlington Borough Council, said: “I am pleased we have been able to agree these measures to support the future growth of the credit union.

“This investment builds on the excellent partnership that already exists between the council and the credit union.

“The credit union helps people across Darlington manage their finances and is there for some of the town’s most disadvantaged people. It’s vital that the council supports that important work.”

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Andrew Craddock, Darlington Building Society chief executive said: “As a fellow mutual financial institution, Darlington Building Society understands that Darlington Credit Union is run for the benefit of its members and the local community, rather than corporate shareholders.

“Providing consumers from all walks of life with options for financial help alongside other types of advice is crucial to many in Darlington and I am therefore incredibly proud of the Society’s support of this vital organisation to the people of Darlington.”

For further information please contact Darlington Credit Union by emailing


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