A COMMUNITY bank for Middlesbrough and Redcar & Cleveland residents has taken another step forward with the appointment of an operator.

Moneywise Credit Union will offer all the products of a high street bank including access to current accounts, online banking and loan offers.

The Community Bank has been made possible with grant funding totalling £465,000 from the SSI Task Force, and a further £50,000 from Middlesbrough Council.

Symon Agnew, Moneywise CEO said: “We are open to all members of the community and as we are owned by our members we are an ethical source of lending for people needing to borrow money; our affordable loans and our services can be accessed through our website www.moneywise.org.uk.”

Middlesbrough’s elected Mayor Dave Budd said: “The absolutely key thing about the Community Bank is that it must look, feel and operate like any other high street bank – Moneywise will offer us that and we are delighted to have them on board.

“The Community Bank will be open to all and allow anyone to achieve financial stability through saving and borrowing without falling prey to high-interest ‘payday lenders’ and loan sharks."

And Councillor Sue Jeffrey, leader of Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, said: “It’s great news that this new community bank is coming to Redcar and Cleveland. As well as offering a full range of products the bank will provide affordable loans and advice and support to help make money go further.

“It is also a great way to save for those big items that can otherwise be a real problem. I would urge everyone looking for a new savings or bank account to go first at their local community bank or credit union.

“If you need a loan they can help you avoid loan sharks or other lenders who can charge shockingly high interest rates. This is a great initiative and I hope many people will give local banking a try.”