A GLASGOW based credit union for NHS staff has paid out more than £1.1million in loans in two months.

In April, the organisation cut its interest rates for larger loans and streamlined its operation to make it easier to use.

Since then, the number of members taking out loans has soared from 653 to 923 compared to the same period last year, when £859,000 was borrowed.

That takes the total value of loans issued to its 9100 members to more than £40m since it was formed in 1998.

NHS Credit Union was set up to save staff in need of cash turning to pay-day loan companies where interest rates can top 4000%.

General manager Robert Kelly said most of the credit union's members are low paid workers with 86% of the membership female.

He said: "Interest has been generated because of the easier way to interact and deal with us and the reduction in the rate.

"However, we may have made it easier for people to access a loan but our funding principle remains the same – nobody will be allowed to take out a loan with us if they can't afford the repayments.

"The fact 923 members have accessed loans worth more than £1.1m in April and May is a big jump."

Although the credit union has members across Scotland and the north of England, most live in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area.

Mr Kelly said: "It is about responsible lending where we are underwriting loans at affordable, ethical rates on the basis people can afford them.

"We have seen case studies where people have borrowed £200 from pay-day lender companies which, if not paid, can easily result in £800 of interest in a year.

"We are trying to promote our services on the basis we are more accessible and it is easier to interact with us and that we will give members a better deal."

The welfare arm of trade union Unison has been promoting the credit union to health service staff pointing out it is owned and run for the benefit to its members.

A spokesman said: "The loans offered by credit unions are clear and typically with no hidden penalties – unlike many doorstep or pay-day loans."