A SWINDON and Wiltshire organization that lends money to low-income people to stop them from using payday lenders has been voted the best in the area.
Wiltshire and Swindon Credit Union won the Best Credit Union (South) category in the Smart Money People’s 2022 Consumer Credit Awards.
The judgment was based on reviews left on the site by people who use services registered with Smart Money People. In over 170 reviews, WASCU has an average of 4.94 out of 5 stars.
Trustee chairman Nick Gallop said it was a testament to the quality of service provided by his staff.
He added: “The staff in the office looking after the members did a fantastic job and it’s a reward for that.
“I’m thrilled for everyone involved in the organization and it’s very satisfying to be recognized like this. I see it as motivation to do more.”
The group, formed in 2016 from four separate Wiltshire credit unions, is based in Cavendish Square but has collection points across the county.
It lends over £1million a year to 3,500 active members and sees a steady increase in demand, partly due to the cost of living crisis.
Its loans are designed to help families who can’t get credit elsewhere, to keep them from going to payday loan companies with crippling interest rates or even illegal loan sharks.
Members open savings accounts and, if they meet the borrowing criteria, can take out monthly repayable loans.
Mr Gallop added: “The special thing we have done is provide quality of service and a way of treating people with dignity.
“Some of those who come to us were just managing to survive and then their fridge stopped working or they had to buy new shoes for three kids going back to school.
“We deal with them in a really helpful and constructive way and because of that they left such great reviews of our service and it’s wonderful that’s why we won this award.”
One member said: “Helped me through Christmas, appliance replacements and family vacations. Couldn’t have done it without being able to borrow from them.”
Another added: ‘An accident has left me struggling to work and support my eight-year-old.
“The professionalism, efficiency and empathy were second to none and I cannot recommend this organization highly enough.”