Friday, 4 March 2016

Opportunities with Credit Unions for both the unions themselves and customers:

Don't use payday lenders or Brighthouse! 

Use your local First Choice Credit Union Accrington & Haslingden. http://www.findyourcreditunion.co.uk/creditunions/view/451

Accrington’s First Choice Credit Union is perhaps not a household name like other services on the high street such as high profile orange rent-to-own stores or or colourful payday lenders who both charge very high interest rates.

Credit Unions like First Choice provide a financial community in which everyone benefits – there’s no third parties to gain profits and they are an excellent alternative to an arguably dangerous dependency upon Pay Day loan companies. Not only are Credit Unions accessible to people of varying financial wealth/stability but your money is safe with them – protected in the same way as with a normal savings account. Suitable for issues such as small loans Credit Unions prove to be an accessible way of getting the financial aid you require without the danger of high interest companies.


It’s presently a particularly exciting time to choose to get involved with your local Credit Union as Lloyds Banking Group are at present investing £1m per annum with the Credit Union Foundation in order to encourage sustainable growth and the outreach to more people within communities. With two types of grants available Constituency Credit Unions have a greater opportunity to lend in a much more significant capacity, whilst Lloyds Banking Group is also helping to enhance the success of Credit Unions through signposting more customers to Credit Unions and sharing expertise/collaborating with them.

Constituency Credit Unions can check their eligibility for the previously mentioned grants at www.creditunionfoundation.org.uk/home whilst Accrington’s Credit Union First Choice can be found in the Accrington Market Hall.

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Dear Mr Jones

I am writing to let you know that applications for Lloyds Banking Group’s Credit Union Development Fund for 2016 open today and to invite you to encourage credit unions in your constituency to apply. 

As you know, credit unions provide an essential service to many people across the country, offering a range of affordable loans, savings accounts, and current accounts to their members. By providing core funding of £1m per annum, Lloyds Banking Group is partnering the Credit Union Foundation to help the sector to achieve sustainable growth and to reach more people.

Over the four year period, from 2014 until 2017, this investment should enable the Credit Union sector to lend an additional £20million to their customers across Britain.  Without this investment it would have taken the beneficiary Credit Unions more than nine years on average to accumulate the necessary reserves to enable them to lend to this capacity - with one beneficiary it would have taken 35 years.

Selected by an independent grants committee, two kinds of grants are available:
a) Large awards (of between £50,000 and £100,000) which ‘top-up’ a Credit Union’s reserves and provide the opportunity for them to build their business to ensure sustained growth without capital constraints.
b) Seed funding awards which are revenue grants of up to £20,000.  These help Credit Unions make the changes they need to apply for a large award in a subsequent year or to pay for the costs of merger.

More information on eligibility and criteria can be found at www.creditunionfoundation.org.uk/home.  

In addition to the Development Fund, Lloyds Banking Group also offers other support to credit unions:
·         Signposting more customers to Credit Unions – across all Lloyds, Halifax and Bank of Scotland branches, our colleagues are signposting more customers to credit unions, for example, where Credit Unions provide essential services that we  cannot, such as small loans.  
·         Shared expertise – we are also doing more to share our expertise, and are building relationships with credit unions close to our employment hubs, encouraging local colleagues to volunteer their skills and time.
·         Collaboration / testing new approaches – we have invested £235,000 in 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.

Please help us to raise awareness of this package of support with credit unions in your constituency.

If you would like any further information about credit unions in your area, or would like to meet to discuss Lloyds’ package of support for the sector in more detail, please contact Katie Curtis at katie.curtis1@loydsbanking.com 

Yours sincerely,

Robin Bulloch
Managing Director, Lloyds Bank and Chair of Lloyds Banking Group’s Financial Inclusion Steering Committee
MDO | Lloyds Bank | Lloyds Banking Group
Ground Floor, 39 Threadneedle Street, London, EC2R 8AU