ETHICAL banking was at the heart of an open day for the First Dorset Credit Union.

People from across the county came to celebrate its success at the Dorchester headquarters in High East Street.

The union has snapped up a 125 year lease on the premises formerly used by Magna Housing.

Directors are hoping this will mean longevity for the union in the county town.

Brian Parkhurst said: “FDCU is looking forward to the future and hopes to be able to grant more and larger reliable loans to our members so that they can be persuaded the FDCU is a far better way of dealing with financial stress than falling into the clutches of payday lenders.”

The Dorchester space includes a ‘superior’ Service Point and offices for admin, treasury and loans.

Kaye Kerridge, director for Dorchester, said: “We were encouraged by the number of people who came to the Open Day.

“Some visitors were long-time members who came to see the new offices and revamped Service Point.”

The open day was also a chance to say ‘thank you’ to Magna, which has allowed the FDCU to operate the Dorchester Service Point rent free for a number of years.

Members say they ‘would not have been able to expand without this assistance’.

In the evening, the union held its AGM at the district council’s offices in South Walks House.

Members from Portland, Blandford, Gillingham and Sherborne enjoyed spending the day in the county town.

David Milsted, director for North Dorset, said: “The credit union is striving to carry its work forward, although the economic climate is not easy.

“While we continue to help people with loans, the situation is not aided by governments making it easier for people to write off their debts, with FDCU bearing the consequential losses.”