Faith friendly savings encouraged in Bradford

People from ethnic minority backgrounds are being urged to open savings accounts by the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Abid Hussain

People from ethnic minority backgrounds are being urged to open savings accounts by the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Councillor Abid Hussain.

The Lord Mayor opened his own savings account with the Bradford District Credit Union to encourage more people from ethnic minorities to use it.

The Credit Union has increased its partnerships with Muslim organisations to become a ‘faith-friendly’ union, which means that Muslim savers with the union will not have to take interest on their savings, as they would with other non-Islamic financial organisations.

Instead, the union says it will pay a dividend on savings which means that, as it is a not-for-profit company, any surplus made will be given back to its members and can then be donated to charity.

The Credit Union was founded by Bradford Council in 1994, and its officers work with a range of statutory, voluntary and other organisations in Bradford through workshops to increase financial literacy and independence.

The Lord Mayor opened his account at City Hall, where he was joined by Councillor Cath Bacon and a representative from Manningham Housing, which serves predominantly ethnic minority people.

It was Cllr Bacon (Labour, Keighley West) who first suggested to the Lord Mayor that he open an account to encourage more people from ethnic minorities to open savings accounts.

She said: “I sit on the board of the Credit Union and Manningham Housing, and at the union’s AGM the Lord Mayor came to speak.

“I asked him if he had an account and he said he didn’t because he is Muslim and they cannot have regular bank accounts.

“There are also a lot of people disenfranchised about bank accounts, through religion and financial position.

“We want to make the union as wide-reaching as possible and I said to the Lord Mayor it would be good for the BME community for him to open one to encourage others to do so.

“There are a range of accounts with a cross-purpose, such as faith-friendly and anti-poverty. It gives people accessible banking opportunities that are safer than keeping cash in a safe or under a mattress.

“We want to help cut through the jargon to make getting access to banking easier.”

Cllr Bacon also announced workshops are going to be held over the summer for people from impoverished backgrounds to encourage them to join the credit union to gain financial independence and also to learn how to budget better and avoid payday loan companies.

For more information about Bradford District Credit Union, visit their website or their facebook page.

(With reporting by Bradford T&A)

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