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Community banks and access to credit

There are many different kinds of loans and credit available.

Some forms of borrowing can be very expensive when you work out what you will have to pay back by the end of the agreement. Make sure you work out what sort of credit suits you. It could be that saving up for what you want may be a better plan.

Get advice

If you are considering taking out credit the first thing you should do is get advice. The Money Advice Service has information about different kinds of credit and loans, and what they may cost you to pay back.

Community banks - formerly known as credit unions

Community banks are not-for-profit financial cooperatives which are owned and controlled by members and authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. Any savings you put into a community bank are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme just like banks and building societies, so your money is always protected.

Community banks were formerly known as credit unions. Many no longer use this name and although some still do, they all provide a similar service.

They are run by local people to provide savings accounts and loans at lower costs than some of the lenders who promote themselves in newspapers and leaflets.

There are a number of community banks in Derbyshire, including:

Loan sharks

Sometimes people lend money at very high interest rates. If they don't have a credit licence which allows them to operate, they may be doing so illegally.

Often they lend money but provide no paperwork showing what has been lent or agreed. These people are often referred to as 'loan sharks'.

If you have borrowed money and are now feeling threatened by the people who lent it, you can get advice from the Illegal Money Lending Unit tel: 0300 555 2222.

Basic bank accounts

If you are simply looking for a basic 'no frills' bank account for your income and outgoings, the information in the Financial Inclusion Derbyshire Partnership leaflet attached to this page will help you.

This will be especially helpful if you have not had an account before, or have had difficulties with a previous account.

The leaflet gives you information about what basic bank accounts are, who provides them and how to open one.