Conservative MP Damian Hinds has called for more government support to promote the work of credit unions, during a Westminster Hall debate on 23 November 2011.
A credit union is owned by its members and provides competitive levels of credit and other financial services to its members.
Mr Hinds - the MP for East Hampshire - said they could "deliver greatly enhanced financial inclusion", especially to people with a poor credit history.
Meanwhile Labour MP Chris Evans called for schools to provide education about credit unions and financial management.
Winding up the debate, Work and Pensions Minister Chris Grayling said they had potential to "drive deeper into the heart of the communities they serve".
Credit unions are far less widely used in England, Scotland and Wales than in Northern Ireland, as well as countries including the US, Australia and the Republic of Ireland.