Matt Young, Group Corporate Affairs Director for Lloyds Banking Group, used an All Party Parliamentary Group on Credit Unions reception on Monday at Westminster, marking the 50th anniversary of credit unions in Britain, to define a four year plan for the Group’s £4 million investment in credit unions.
Discussing the £4m support package, Matt said: “Our overall aim is very simple. We want to enable as many people as possible to access and benefit from financial services. We see this as a key part of being a responsible business and helping Britain to prosper.”
Welcoming Lloyds support in the area of financial inclusion, the Economic Secretary, Andrea Leadsom, said: “Lloyds’ support will be a welcome boost to the efforts of the credit union movement to serve even more people in their communities.”
The Credit Union Growth Plan, (the Plan), has four separate elements, and draws on some of the ways that the Group already uses to support and help grow small businesses.
- Launch of a £4m fund which – over four years – will assist credit unions who can demonstrate strong and viable proposals for growth. Delivered in partnership with the credit union Foundation, the fund will focus on strengthening the financial position of credit unions, enabling them to grow sustainably, build resilience and help more people in the long term.
- Signposting more customers to credit unions. The Group has already piloted this approach from its branches with the Leeds City Credit Union for six months and saw around 2,000 Lloyds’ customers take away information about the credit union. It is now scaling up in other parts of the country – initially working with credit unions in up to 20 locations close to employment hubs; strengthen local relationships by increasing the mentoring and support of its colleagues.
- Shared expertise – seconding two full time colleagues to work on the credit union Expansion Project, enabling the whole credit union sector to scale and serve more people.
- Collaboration / testing new approaches – it is for this reason that the Group is financing the pilot stage of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Church Credit Champions Network which will train at least 300 Credit Champions and generate at least 3,000 addition members of credit unions.
Mark Lyonette, Chief Executive of ABCUL, the Association of British Credit Unions Ltd, said: “As is demonstrated in countries like the US and Canada where more than 40% of people use credit unions, the British sector has great potential to provide an ethical financial option and provide healthy competition in financial services. This can be through providing an affordable and responsible alternative to payday and other high cost lenders or providing great value loans and savings without the need to pay a return to shareholders.
“The sector’s success depends upon its ability to develop an efficient and sustainable business model which is able to meet the needs of people from a range of backgrounds. This is what the DWP-funded Credit Union Expansion Project seeks to do and the Lloyds investment announced today will give this effort a further boost by accelerating sustainable growth and sharing key expertise and knowledge.”