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Are credit unions a viable alternative to banks?

27 January 2012 Last updated at 09:49 GMT

Credit unions have been around since the nineteenth century but in the past 10 years, the number of people using one has risen by more than 200 per cent.

Much of that rise is being put down to the tough economic climate and the rising cost of loans but do credit unions really offer a viable alternative to banks?

The BBC's Jenny Hill reports from Wigan.