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This week, ABCUL Chief Executive, Robert Kelly attended the annual Georgia Credit Union Affiliates Conference. Robert spent time with credit unions from across the state of Georgia learning from their experiences of co-operation, innovation and change to meet members’ expectations. Since establishing a formal World Council International Partnership with GCUA in 2016, ABCUL and its members have seen tremendous benefits as they've formed direct partnerships with colleagues in Georgia. Robert believes that a key area of importance for the partnership is "through the insights, ideas and experiences shared at conferences and events, which all our members will ...
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In recent years ABCUL has strengthened the offering of its member Forums to bring additional value to credit unions. Last weekend, members of the ABCUL North East & Yorkshire Forum sponsored a special training event to share and learn more about ‘Good Governance’. Members shared their learning, experience and challenges of governance among each other in a session facilitated by Nick Money from the ‘Centre For Community Finance Europe.’ Nick has a wide experience of Governance in the co-operative sector has advised a number of credit unions on the topic. Reflecting on a positive day of training, Nick said: “I really enjoy delivering governance training, ...
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Discovery Credit Union has released its new mobile app, ‘Money Matters Quiz' this week as part of National Numeracy Day. The app , aimed at 11-18-year-olds, will help young people learn about money management and good savings habits. Players can earn monetary rewards for each successfully-completed category, which will be deposited into their Discovery Credit Union account. Councillor Kevin Cordell, Convenor of Neighbourhood Services met with local children, Lillia and Meghna to learn about the app. Cllr Cordell said: "Learning wholeheartedly support. We welcome this new and fun initiative from Discovery Credit Union to add to the financial education ...
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Clockwise Credit Union has launched a co-ordinated social media campaign to highlight the importance of credit unions for anyone in society. Although the number of adults in the UK without a bank account has dropped to 1.2m, a recent report by Pockit (online current account provider) found that on average those who do not have their own bank account paid £485 a year more for basic services, such as gas, electricity or broadband. For over 25 years, Clockwise Credit Union in Leicestershire and Rutland, and credit unions around the country have passionately advocated making savings accounts and affordable credit available to all who need it. “We wanted ...
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Lincolnshire Credit Union will benefit from extra financial support through Lincolnshire Co-op’s Community Champion Scheme. Alongside several financial wellbeing groups, the credit union will share a total of £147,000 to bolster the work of those that care for the financially disadvantaged. The Community Champions scheme is one-way Lincolnshire Co-op gives back to the local community. Since it was launched in 2013, it’s helped hundreds of local charities and community groups each year raising amounts from £200 to over £200,000. Lincolnshire Co-op’s Senior Community and Education Co-ordinator, Ben James said: “The financial groups do an excellent job. ...
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Carntyne and Riddrie Credit Union is breaking down barriers of how people across the city access food banks. Eight years ago, General Manager of CRCU, John Lyons felt it his duty to help those communities who struggled to afford its basic needs of access to food.  He went onto form Glasgow’s first non-referral food bank. John explains “We used to collect food and take it to a local food back and I dropped by to see how the process worked. It was then I learned that people needed a referral slip from their doctor or social services in order to receive food parcels. At one particular food back I saw every age group come and go, and they were absolutely ...
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Founder of First Rate Credit Union, Les Walker has retired this week after 37 years of service to the credit union sector. Operations Manager, Mike Barry describes this as an “end of an era” for First Rate Credit Union. Les has been with First Rate its entire existence, helping to set it up as a volunteer from 1 hangar at BAE Systems’ Warton location back in 1982, when the collectors would follow the pools man and collect cash weekly from the few handfuls of members that the credit union then had. Nearly four decades on and First Rate has grown from the original 21 members saving a few pounds in cash from each weekly pay packet to becoming one the largest ...
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Police Credit Union is fast approaching the 30,000 member milestone and has also seen nearly £12m in loans issues in the last six months. With continued pay challenges within the public sector and increases in the cost of living, Police CU are seeing more record numbers turning to the credit union as they look to prepare for their financial future. In the last six months, over 2000 members have joined Police CU, seeing total membership increase by over 7% and have also issued almost £12m in loans to members. The credit union service aims to improve an employee’s financial resilience, helping members to prepare for their financial future by providing flexible ...
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Last month, the volunteer-based credit union, St Albans District Credit Union hit the £1m milestone in saving deposits. Chairman of St Albans, Colin Metcalfe said: “Whilst this is a significant milestone for our credit union, it does very much reflect the area that we serve, and we continue to actively seek loans to balance the savings of our members.” The financial year showed a marked increase in loans granted under the agreement  has with St Albans City and District Council to assist local families into private sector housing. St Albans has granted just under £100,000 of these loans. This increase was helped by a change of policy by the Government ...
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Merthyr Tydfil Borough Credit Union is celebrating 20 years of providing a valued service to thousands of people in communities across the Valleys region. As their 20 th anniversary approaches, MTBCU Manager, Delyth Shearing said that many people’s lives have been improved since they became members. “Since our launch in Pontmorlais back in 1999, we’ve arranged more than 15,000 manageable loans to local people at a value of £9.1 million,” she said. “This has made a big difference to people’s lives, many of whom may have otherwise become victims of high cost credit providers or payday lenders. “Similarly, our many thousands of senior and ...
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Smart Money Cymru Credit Union is launching a new marketing campaign, to raise awareness of the credit unions services. The Welsh credit union has joined forces with the Wales Illegal Money Lending Unit (WIMLU) to highlight its loan products as an alternative to borrowing from illegal or high interest  money lenders.  SMCCU partnership with WIMLU has strengthened following an increase in the number of illegal money lenders operating throughout the Borough. Over the next two weeks each household within the Caerphilly Borough will receive a cartoon style leaflet outlining three different borrowing scenarios, each with different outcomes. The ...
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Green MSP, Ross Greer has put forward a parliamentary motion to recognise an Innovative Schools Project, in which 1 st Alliance (Ayrshire) Credit Union is involved in. The project, in partnership with 1 st Alliance Credit Union, was launched back in March as part of the Innovative Schools Project – involving Developing Young Workforce (DYW) Ayrshire and The Prince’s Trust Scotland.  It is also, in response to the closure of the town’s high street banks and will allow 1 st Alliance Credit Union to have a facility within the school for pupils, their families and local residents to use. The pupils will work alongside 1 st Alliance to develop ...
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Plane Saver Credit Union has once again broken its records in terms of lending and membership in its first quarter of 2019. A total of £4m has been lent between January – March 2019 and Plane Saver have increased membership for the first three months of 2019 breaking all records. They are currently performing 100% above last year’s figures for the same period.  “We have been working incredibly hard to spread the word about the benefits of joining Plane Saver and this is a direct result of our efforts”, says Valerie Walwyn, Chief Executive of Plane Saver Credit Union. Towards the end of 2018, Plane Saver launched its ‘payday payoff' loan facility, ...
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Riverside Credit Union is celebrating a significant landmark in its history, as it reaches its 30 th anniversary of service to members. First established as Speke Credit Union, the credit union was initially formed to support family, friends and neighbours who were being mercilessly exploited by loan sharks and doorstep lenders. Since 1989, Riverside has been providing a safe savings facility and low-interest loans to thousands of people every year, way beyond the Speke boundary.  Manager of Riverside, Mike Knight acknowledges the importance of the early visionaries and volunteers who undertook the task of producing a “first class regulated ...
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There was much to celebrate at South Manchester Credit Union’s (SMCU) AGM this week: a successful year of growth, a new website and a successful merger were amongst the many achievements in 2017/2018. After a successful merger with Fallowfield Credit Union and a new approach to marketing through Facebook, SMCU continues to grow in membership, with just under 4000 members.  The credit union grew its lending and assets by around a third in the year and surplus almost tripled. SMCU Chairman, Mike Connolly said the respect that staff and volunteers pay to members is crucial to making the credit union work. "Our credit union is stronger than it ...
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Ever since Bradford Council set up Bradford District Credit Union (BDCU), it has used innovative methods to reach financially excluded people and give them a chance to save or borrow ethically and sustainably.  In the past 12 months, BDCU has hosted interactive ‘jargon-buster’ workshops which have been delivered to 150 people, demystifying financial issues in times of austerity in the district and the introduction of Universal Credit. It also runs a ‘LifeSavers’ scheme which teaches good financial habits and skills in primary schools, with 76 children registered who have saved over £6,000. "Each week a dedicated team of young bank tellers ...
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Last month, credit union professionals from ABCUL Wales Forum participated in a two, day management training courses, as part of an initiative to develop aspiring leaders in the credit union sector across Wales. Led by Sara Barrow from Prosper Training and Consultancy, the course covered a number of topics such as personal management style, giving performance feedback, setting a business strategy, creating engagement motivation and appraisal review training. There were 12 participants from six member credit unions who found the training “easy to understand and very well planned” and left feeling “more confident to address competency issues.” ...
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Gloucestershire Credit Union has improved its digital access for members with the launch of a new website. As part of a new digital implementation programme to improve the credit union's service to members, GCU has launched its new website. "It's a fresh, clean look and reflects the communities which our members come", says Executive Director of GCU, Al Jack. GCU previously introduced a web portal and app which allowed members to access and manage their accounts, however, feedback from members and partners indicated that it became difficult to navigate as new pages and features had been added over the years. Enabled by a grant of over £4,000 ...
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Wiltshire and Swindon Credit Union (WASCU) are hosting an open training day in partnership with MTC Training, to help the most financially vulnerable avoid falling into a dangerous spiral of debt. The credit union’s services have become an important safety net in the community since emergency schemes that give cash to people in crises have seen funding slashed across Swindon and Wiltshire. Figures released by the charity, Church Action on Poverty state that spending on emergency grants have been cut by as much as 93% since 2013. Swindon Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Finance, Cllr Russell Holland, has stated the council are helping ...
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A new online banking app, a new credit union sustainability partnership and positive member survey are amongst the highlights reported at Westcountry Savings and Loans’ (WCSL) AGM. Launching this month, WCSL’s new smartphone app gives members access to arrange payments 24/7. Chair of WCSL, Gill Hull describes the implementation of the new app as part of a “strategy to be a modern, accessible credit union”. In September 2018, WCSL won a competitive selection exercise which awarded them a ‘Credit Union Sustainability Partnership’ (CUSP) with nine Housing Associations across the South West. In order to accommodate one of the housing providers, ...
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