People in Wales are estimated to have saved almost £16 million by using their credit union for small loans last year, but as we face the financial fallout of Covid-19 that is the tip of the iceberg to what can be achieved.
Ten Welsh credit unions have united to launch an ambitious strategy that will help people save money and keep cash circulating in the Welsh economy.
Leanne Herberg, CEO of Cardiff & Vale Credit Union, said:
“Credit unions in Wales have seen strong growth over the past decade but there is so much more we can do.
“In a time when many people in Wales are struggling with the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, 10 credit unions have pledged to work together to create a strategy that will help people in Wales save money on loans and build up a stronger financial safety net.”
Collectively credit unions estimate they have helped people in Wales save up to £15.9 million in loan repayments compared to using a high cost lender.*
The strategy focusses on helping people in Wales access affordable loans and regular savings through their credit union, with actions including schemes allowing employees to save and borrow directly from their salary, digital services and improved financial education for all ages.
Ms Herberg added:
“Over the past year credit unions opened new collection points and branches across Wales, during lockdown we boosted our digital accessibility for members.
“Through collaboration Credit Unions of Wales are pulling together to ensure that every person in Wales has access to affordable credit and regular savings. Whether it’s a small loan for as little as £200 or saving through our 150 payroll partners, we are committed to ensuring people in Wales have a brighter financial future.”
Welcoming the strategy, Deputy Minister for Housing and Local Government, Hannah Blythyn said:
“Credit unions provide an excellent and ethical way for people to save regularly and borrow affordably and responsibly. They feature strongly in our efforts to tackle poverty and will continue to play a key role in building financial resilience.
“During the coronavirus lockdown, they made significant efforts to maintain essential services for existing customers and also new members looking to borrow affordably.
“Now more than ever, members will be looking to their trusted credit unions to provide assistance to navigate the unprecedented times that lie ahead and this strategy will help the credit unions to meet this demand and serve their customers even better in future.”
In 2019, credit unions in Wales saw loans increase by £1.1 million to almost £25m, with savings up by £1.8m to £44.5m compared to the previous year.
Patron of Credit Unions of Wales Jane Hutt MS said:
“In these challenging times it is incredibly important that people know they can access support from their credit unions.
“Credit unions are so important in promoting social justice and financial inclusion. We all need help sometimes, especially during times of uncertainty and everyone should have access to fair and ethical support.”
As financial co-operatives, credit unions have no external shareholders meaning that the money made goes into providing services to members.
To find your nearest credit union, go to: https://creditunionsofwales.co.uk/find-my-nearest-credit-union/