Credit unions: financial lifeline for UK communities comes of age

Payday loans

This April marks the 50th anniversary of the first two credit unions set up in Britain formed to help those rejected by banks

When Bentley Hines arrived in Britain in 1961, he was looking for a job in engineering, as that was the sector he had worked in as a young man in his native Jamaica. But, he says, “it wasn’t easy”. Hines, then in his early 20s, ended up getting a job in a factory assembling televisions before deciding to try for work in London.

It was around this time that an old schoolfriend, who was living in the nearby Hornsey area of north London, got in touch. “He introduced me to this new thing they were thinking of starting. It was a savings scheme for ordinary people, and they were looking for members. I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen but I joined it anyway,” says Hines, who is now 75.

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