Despite warnings of a spike in foreclosure loans, Norwich residents have tightened their purse strings in the event of a pandemic and have spent “cautiously”.
In May of last year Jon Warne, chairman of Norwich Credit Union (NCU), which offers affordable loans, warned that the restrictions could have serious repercussions on the finances of many people.
But despite financial difficulties for parts of the company, Mr Warne said: “We thought we would have more problems than we encountered. We thought more people would have difficulty with their money.
“There were problems for people, but not as far as we thought. We thought that people with NCU loans wouldn’t be able to repay them.
“Once the lockdown started in March 2020, people were really cautious. “
The union, which started in 1989 and is based on Pottergate, operates with a “collective” cooperative system, which means that the shareholders do not derive any financial benefit from it and “make a lot of money out of it”, according to Mr Warne. .
He added that the biggest problem for the union was its need for more volunteers to do all the work needed for its 1,500 union members.
He said: “The debt culture is quite worrying. We try to run the association with the best of intentions. I think cooperation is better than competition.
“You don’t get shareholders who benefit from it. Everyone benefits from it. People work together. He’s there if people want to use it,” Mr. Warne added.
Loans can be made to anyone through the charity, which has 30 volunteers, but recipients must provide identification and do a credit check.
Mr Warne said, “The last thing we want to do is issue bad loans. It could mean the credit union’s demise.”
The charity currently operates by appointment only and is open for fewer days than before the lockdown, but it is hoped that full and safe service can resume soon.
To get involved in volunteering or for financial assistance, call 01603 764904, visit www.norwichcreditunion.org.uk or email [email protected]