Thursday, 26 April 2007

Scots Tenants Offered Affordable Credit by Housing Association

Margaret Blackwood Housing Association and Dunfermline Building Society have announced a preferential savings and loans scheme for tenants.

Unveiled at the Chartered Institute of Housing’s Financial Inclusion seminar in Edinburgh, the initiative will enable tenants and sharing owners to open an instant access savings account that will offer a preferential rate of interest on balances as small as £1.

Once account holders have made at least two deposits, they become entitled to apply for a loan of up to £500 at a flat rate of interest that is just 0.95% above the Bank of England’s base lending rate.

Jeremy Hewer, Project Manager for Margaret Blackwood Housing Association, said: “We are delighted to offer our tenants the opportunity of getting a high rate of interest on their savings as well as access to more affordable credit.

“Most high street lenders are just not interested in providing small, unsecured loans. This scheme fulfils a demand that has, up to now, been met by doorstep lenders charging exorbitant interest rates.”

Ken Dow, Senior Manager – Community Development at Dunfermline Building Society, said: “The Society is delighted to partner Margaret Blackwood Housing Association in this wider action initiative.

"The Savings & Loans scheme has been specifically designed to assist Housing Association tenants and allow them to make informed and affordable choices when dealing with their personal finances.”

This is the second programme reflecting Margaret Blackwood Housing Association’s commitment to promoting financial inclusion.

Jeremy Hewer explained: “This scheme complements our involvement in a Wider Role-funded initiative within Edinburgh. We have joined up with four other housing associations and with the local Citizens Advice Bureaux to provide financial health checks, advice and counselling to new tenants and tenants who have debt issues.

“But Edinburgh is only one of the 29 Scottish local authority areas in which we operate. We want to provide a nationwide service which improves the general level of financial literacy.

“We would like to hear from other RSLs who might partner us in delivering a comprehensive financial and welfare benefits advice service elsewhere in Scotland. They can contact me on 0131 317 0169 or email me at”

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