A retail credit union called RetailCURe has been launched for retail employees today with financial support from Theo Paphitis and the Retail Trust.

RetailCURe is a financial co-operative that is available for anyone working in the UK retail industry and has been launched to encourage employees in the sector to save and borrow money at competitive rates.

Retail employees can deposit up to £15,000 on savings accounts and will receive 1% interest on instant access accounts, 2% interest on six-month accounts and 3% interest on one-year deposits.

Retailers including John Lewis Partnership, Debenhams, Ryman, Iceland, New Look and Schuh have provided financial backing for the union, which will also offer access to loans ranging from £500 to £5000.

Members of RetailCURe, which is a not-for-profit scheme, will be able to pay off loans over a six-month to three-year period at an interest rate of around 11%.

Any surplus funds that are generated by the financial co-operative will be reinvested for its members.

Incentive to save

Theo Paphitis, who has been involved in the retail credit union’s development over the past two years, told Retail Week: “There has never been a credit union for the retail industry before, so for the first time ever we can give our retail colleagues the toolset needed to live a responsible financial lifestyle.

“The economy as it stands at the moment does not offer a great incentive for people to save money.

“This is not just about loans or deposits – its about making it possible for people to manage their finances irrespective of what their financial status is.”

Chief executive of Retail Trust and non-executive director of RetailCURe Richard Boland Smith added: “The financial crisis has seen banks, the traditional providers of financial services, become less willing to provide loans to people of average earnings, or the financially vulnerable.

“RetailCURe is a direct response to this challenging environment. We are run by the retail industry for the retail industry and are committed to improving the wellbeing of all involved in retail.”

RetailCURe is authorised and regulated by the Prudential Regulatory Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority.