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Credit Union ends library service amidst financial problems

Created on 21/08/2018 @ 13:59
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by Gareth Williams, Local Democracy Reporter

The Cambrian Credit Union, an organisation that helps people with financial problems is closing in Newtown due to its own financial problems.

The organisation currently operates from Newtown Library on certain days along with Welshpool Library. In addition, it has five offices in North and Mid Wales. But the financial cooperative has now announced that jobs will be lost and counter service will be slashed in order to cut costs.

It had taken over the former Newtown based Hafren Credit Union in May 2015.

Part-time counter services at Newtown and Welshpool libraries are to close completely, offices in Caernarfon, Denbigh and Wrexham will now only open for one day a week - despite currently being open five days - leaving Rhyl and Llandudno Junction as the only offices open five days a week from October onwards.

The North Wales Credit Union was established in 2010 following the merger of Caledfryn, Clwyd Coast, Llandudno, Wrexham and Y Llechen Credit Unions, joined by Hafren Credit Union in May 2015 before changing its name the following year.

According to its website, it currently has over 12,000 adult members and 1,500 junior savers, employing over 30 members of staff and around 50 volunteers.

“The service offered people the opportunity to borrow money at low-interest rates and although we must appreciate the cost of running local branches this is still a very disappointing decision.”

A spokesperson for the Cambrian Credit Union Board, noted: “We have nearly £9m in savings which is totally protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

“This money cannot be used for speculative investments and the way that we make a surplus is via the loans that we make to our members. Any surplus after operating costs may be returned to our members as a dividend.

“In recent years our loan revenue has not been covering our operational costs. This means we have not paid a dividend and we are forced to make changes to improve the situation.

“Regretfully, this means that we are reducing staff numbers and office opening hours. This is not a decision taken lightly.

Photo: Newtown Library where Cambrian Credit Union had a part-time client meeting place

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