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Monday, 01 June 2015

Credit union leaders have heard how they can play an increasingly pivotal role in providing financial services at two conferences organised by CUNA Mutual.

Around 150 leaders from credit unions across Britain attended the Credit unions: Going from good to great events held in Manchester and Glasgow on 26 and 27 May.

Organised by CUNA Mutual – the largest specialist insurer of the mutual sector – the conferences heard from CEO of CUNA Mutual Europe Paul Walsh and from George Hofheimer of the Filene Institute, as well as insights from guest speakers at each event.

At the conferences, Paul Walsh revealed worrying statistics about the numbers who are under the greatest amount of pressure to seek alternative forms of finance should they be hit by an unexpected debt. In the mutual insurer’s annual financial fragility survey, over 42% of respondents in the North West of England and 34% in Scotland were identified as financially vulnerable, admitting that they would not be able to repay an immediate debt of £2,000.

Delegates heard how British credit unions can learn from credit union movements around the world to offer the sort of service that not only helps people deal with financial shocks, but attracts people from all walks of life to turn to credit unions for savings, loans and a range of financial services.

CUNA Mutual stated that they expect to see an increase in credit union membership in the coming years, with specific growth among young people who are looking for safe, reasonable lending, as well as older generations searching for a safe place to save.

Paul Walsh told delegates: “In times of relative economic stability, it is important that we take heed of the age old adage to fix the roof while the sun is shining. People need to make smart, responsible decisions about their financial future and credit unions provide the perfect solution for both borrowers and savers.

“In fact, those who borrow with credit unions will borrow up to 17 times with the same credit union. The personalised, secure service that credit unions offer makes them the perfect choice.”

ABCUL Chief Executive Mark Lyonette joined the panel for the event in Manchester, while the Glasgow event heard from Scotland’s Business Minister Fergus Ewing MSP, who said: “I am encouraged to see continued growth in credit union membership and know there is potential for more. The Scottish Government wants to make sure that we have a secure, thriving and sustainable credit union movement in Scotland and we will continue to work with the sector to help them achieve that.”

(Source - ABCUL Press Release)  


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