THE Kernow Credit Union (KCU) is the county's best response to extortionate loan sharks, said St Ives MP Andrew George.
Mr George was speaking at the recent opening of a Penzance branch of the KCU at The Giving Shop at Wharfside Shopping Centre.
In addition to the standard savings and loan accounts, KCU also offers junior savers' accounts for under-16s.
Mr George, who was instrumental in setting up the Cornwall Credit Union Development Project in 1996, said: "I was privileged to become a member of the Penwith Credit Union in July 1999 and subsequently a member of Cornwall Community Banking. Credit unions are 'not-for-profit' companies and can make a strong contribution to communities badly affected by extortionate loan sharks, expensive credit and pay day lenders. I look forward to maintaining this link by becoming a member of Kernow Credit Union."
KCU secretary Jon Hayworth added: "Kernow Credit Union is pleased to be opening a service point in Penzance because it was in Penzance in 1999 that the first community-based credit union in Cornwall opened its doors for business."