For the first time in more than 25 years, personal banking-type facilities are set to make a return to Peasedown St John. It’s been a quarter-of-a-century since the former branch of Natwest closed in Bath Road – and now thanks to the efforts of one local church things are about to change.
Somerset Savings and Loans, who provide credit union services to people living across the county, are to open a new branch in Peasedown St John.
The venture has been coordinated and arranged by St John’s Church as part of the Church of England’s wider mission to tackle payday loan companies and high-interest lenders, and instead encourage more ethical banking.
Project coordinator, Andy Stockinger, said: “We are pleased to be working with Somerset Savings and Loans to offer these new credit union facilities for the residents of Peasedown St John. Credit unions offer safe savings accounts (including Christmas accounts and Junior accounts) and affordable loans for everybody in the community.
There are too many high-interest lenders out there who, for too long, have taken advantage of people who are in need of financial help, which is unethical and immoral. When people are in need of help, they need local financial support that’s ethical and fair – and tailor made to help them, not hinder them. We’ll also be encouraging people to save as even small amounts add up to create a personal safety net for a rainy day.”
Somerset Savings and Loans is a community owned, not-for-profit financial co-operative offering a local alternative to traditional banking and credit institutions.
Leader of St John’s Church, Revd Matthew Street added: “At our new Peasedown St John branch people will be able to deposit funds, which others on low incomes can then borrow. We’ll have a special Peasedown Bond that will be used to help people who have a low disposable income or who temporarily have no income due to a new benefits claim being processed to access loans between £50 and £300 up to a period of six months.”
Jackie Simpson, General Manager of Somerset Savings and Loans said: “We are delighted to be working with St John’s Church. We’d encourage people from all walks of life to become members of the credit union, which is owned and run by its members. It’s an opportunity to make a real difference in the community.”
The new Peasedown St John branch of the credit union will be open every Wednesday, 1 pm – 3 pm at St John’s Church, Church Road (BA2 8AA).
Residents can find out more details by calling 01275 390650, or emailing Somerset Savings and Loans.
The new branch was officially opened by the Chairman of the Parish Council, Cllr Andrew Fraser, on Wednesday 13th May.