Credit Unions See Surge in Membership and Loans

By cunews posted 12 days ago


The latest data from the Bank of England for the first quarter of 2022 finds that 1.93 million people in the UK are now members of a credit union, an increase of more than 22,000 compared to the same period last year.

As well as growing membership in the UK, credit unions are also loaning record sums to members with total borrowing surpassing £1.79 billion in Q1 2022. It marks an increase of £197 million (12%) since the opening quarter of 2021, one year ago.

“Credit unions are building financial resilience in households and communities all across the country and helping consumers manage their finances in a hugely positive way,” says ABCUL CEO, Robert Kelly.

In March, a report from the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) - Swimming with Sharks – revealed 1.08 million people are victims of loan sharks and called for reform to the Credit Union Act 1979, including the creation of a new Credit Union Mergers Fund.

Freedom Finance, one of the UK’s leading digital lending marketplaces, supports the call for reform and a broadening of the types of credit available as the cost-of-living crisis continues to worsen and following the withdrawal of many short-term credit providers.

David Hendry, Chief Marketing Officer at Freedom Finance, said the Bank’s latest figures were evidence of households exploring every option to obtain affordable credit and the positive role the wider credit industry would need to play over the coming months to support people.

Hendry stated: “Credit Unions are playing an increasingly important role in the UK’s lending ecosystem. This was accelerated by the withdrawal of many short-term credit providers from the market and demand is continuing to rise as the cost-of-living crisis makes borrowing more expensive and more necessary for many people.”

Commenting on the published data, ABCUL CEO, Robert Kelly said: “Credit unions will continue to serve communities and employers in these testing times through the provision of ethical and responsible products and services - our mantra of people helping people will continue to be the bedrock of everything we do.”

Source – Credit Strategy