Borough boosts credit union’s battle against payday lenders in town centre

Chris Mole and David Ellesmere inside the building that will become the new Ipswich Credit Union.

Chris Mole and David Ellesmere inside the building that will become the new Ipswich Credit Union. - Credit: Lucy Taylor

The battle against the growth of payday lenders in Ipswich has been given a new boost after the borough helped the town’s credit union to establish a presence in the town centre.

The Eastern Savings and Loans credit union is a new name after the merger of unions in Suffolk and Norfolk over the last year.

It will be moving into a new office at the junction of Westgate Street and St Matthew’s Street – and should be operating from there by the spring.

The borough has taken out a lease on the shop, a former bakery, and will pay the rent for three years to allow the credit union to establish itself there.

Council leader David Ellesmere said: “We are very keen to support the credit union as an alternative to the payday lenders who are already on the high street.

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“Hopefully the credit union will be able to establish its presence here as an alternative offering much better rates to people that need financial help.”

Credit union general manager Chris Mole said having a town centre base was very important – and its hours would be extended once the new office opens.

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He said: “Our administration will remain in Austin Street, but we want to make it more mainstream. We hope to attract more customers to save with us as well as borrow from us.”

Credit unions offer those who are unable to get loans from traditional sources the opportunity to borrow money for major purchases at a fraction of the interest of payday lenders.

Mr Mole added: “Just by having our office here people will be able to see there is a way of borrowing that is different from the payday lenders.”

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