ELLESMERE Port and Neston Credit Union has merged with its Chester counterpart to form a much stronger company.

The organisation is now called West Cheshire Credit Union as covers the area served by the new authority, which comes into being on April 1.

As a result, membership is now over 1,500 with offices in all three areas boasting more than 60 volunteers to back up the five paid staff.

The credit union, which operates on a not-for-profit basis, offers easy savings schemes and low-cost personal loans to anyone living or working in the West Cheshire area and Saltney.

Manager Neil Jay said: “Everyone is talking about the credit crunch and the role that a local credit union can play in helping people to access low-cost loans.

“This merger will make us stronger and enable us to reach more potential members. We know that there are large numbers of local people paying exorbitantly high rates of interest on relatively small personal loans.

“We are increasing our advertising and promotional work to try to make everyone who needs a loan aware that there is a good alternative at your local credit union.”

- To contact West Cheshire Credit Union call 01244 399006 or 0151 355 7430.