Credit union in first national tie-up

More than 160,000 social tenants are set to be the first to get a financial kick-start following the Government's relaxation of "common bond" geographic credit union rules.

The national housing association Affinity Sutton will offer its residents the opportunity to join Leeds City Credit Union, giving many of them access to basic financial services for the first time.

Social tenants account for three-fifths of the UK's financially excluded people, who are turned down for a bank account but are unable to join a credit union because there is not one nearby. Many have fallen into the clutches of unscrupulous payday lenders.

The residents will be offered a range of online and phone-based services, including "jam jar" budgeting accounts, savings and low cost loans.

Stephanie Noyce of Affinity Sutton said: "Many residents are struggling to make ends meet so they are inevitably tempted to use high cost lenders such as payday loans. Our partnership with LCCU will enable us to fill this gap."