As part of ‘Move Your Money’ month, a campaign to encourage citizens to move their deposits and savings out of the big 5 high street banks and in to more ethical financial providers, the Brixton Pound (B£) local currency is joining forces with London Mutual Credit Union (LMCU) to make local money go further.
The Brixton Pound Community Interest Company will be moving its ‘reserve’ sterling account away from a high street bank to LMCU, South London’s largest credit union.
This means any Brixton residents buying Brixton pounds – which exchange at a 1:1 rate – will know their sterling will be supporting local residents whilst their B£s supports the local economy.
LMCU makes low-cost ethical loans to South Lambeth residents and has a focus upon supporting financially excluded residents who cannot get finance from the big banks or face paying extortionate rates of interest from Pay-Day-Loan providers.
The B£ is able to move its money because new legislation that has just passed in parliament allows credit unions to have organizational as well as individual members.
LMCU is having a special Saturday opening on 24th March from 11am-4pm to encourage people to create an account. Customers need to bring two forms of ID to the office on 10 Acre Lane. They can take advantage of a competitive 3% ISA product recently launched by the Credit Union as well as affordable loans. A long queue is expected outside the door to join up!
Residents wishing to use Brixton £s also have the chance to register for a B£ Pay-by-Text electronic bank account, enabling them to make purchases with their mobile phones. Customers using the system will receive a 10% bonus – so that for every £10 sterling they credit their account with, they will get B£11.00 to spend with participating businesses.
“London Mutual Credit Union is the ideal partner for the Brixton £”, said Simon Woolf, the Brixton Pound’s Managing Director. “By moving our money in this way, anyone spending Brixton pounds knows they are not just supporting their favourite local businesses but also people on low incomes in their neighbourhood who benefit from the Credit Union’s ethical loans. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Lucky Chandrasekah, LMCU’s Chief Executive, said:
“We are delighted to have the Brixton Pound CIC as one of our first organizational members. Their investment means we can grow stronger and compete more effectively with the Pay-Day-Loan companies that often land residents in damaging cycles of debt. We also hope that Brixton Pound users and businesses will consider moving their savings accounts to the credit union, helping us further.”
Josh Ryan-Collins, B£ co-founder and Senior Researcher at local think tank nef (the new economics foundation), said:
“It has been well over three years now since the financial crisis and people still don’t see any meaningful reforms to our dinosaur banks. But here in Brixton we’re ensuring our money goes not into damaging financial speculation and banker’s bonuses but to those parts of our economy that need it most: small businesses that create jobs and low income residents facing increased hardships with government cuts. This is another step along the road to a more sustainable local financial system that puts people first.”