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4 March 2010, 18:57 | Updated: 4 March 2010, 19:32
A new credit union has launched in Kent - designed for all 1.6 million people in the county.
Kent Savers will offer loans and savings accounts just for people who live or work in Kent - making it one of the largest credit unions in the UK.
The credit union was launched at Little Pebbles Children's Centre in Gravesend on Thursday to show families on low incomes that there's an alternative to high interest rates and pay day loans.
Since the start of the recession a lot of companies offering very high interest rates have sprung up on the internet, leaving people tied into loans they can't afford.
Ursula Wacher is the Chair of the Board of Directors at Kent Savers:
"Kent Savers is duty bound, actually legally obliged, to promote thrift and sound financial education of its membership. And like any membership organisation our members have a say in the way we run our business. Unlike Banks, our members have a vote which really counts".
The credit union hopes to rescue people from the downward spiral of debt, by combining loan repayments with saving small amounts of money.
To get Kent Savers started, Kent County Council's provided £250,000, and a further £500,000 has come from a number of partnerships and organisations.
(photo: Heart reporter Anna Jones talks to Michael from Sittingbourne, who was a victim of loan sharks)