John Merritt sends summary of the business problems CUSO-UK aims to reduce for Credit Unions to enquirers.
1) Finding, talking to, and negotiating with suppliers of goods and services that make more Credit Unions effective.
2) Finding and creating a pool of shared knowledge in the whole sector
3) Helping British Credit Unions move away from being grant dependent to being strong commercial cooperatives.
“CUSO-UK recommend 12 issues are taken into account when considering Credit Union growth in Britain at the Guardian/Lloyds turning goodwill into action: panel debate”
4 key requirements to grow sustainable Credit Unions in Britain 2016
A positive reputation with members and supportive commissioning organisations for being trustworthy, reliable and providing up to date financial products, services through up to date channels
An effective operating model produced through providing the right products and services at the right price for everyone in Britain & excellent member/customer services for people from all financial circumstances
Effective co-operative governance externally, internally and individually – by people from all perspectives including legislators, regulators, board and senior management and the Credit Union owner members
An effective financial business model with sustainable key ratios with sustainable income & expenditure and capital – asset ratios, good financial management and well managed loan and investment portfolio
4 key actions to make this happen
Create a positive reputation by providing evidence of good practice and marketing that evidence at AGM’s, in newsletters and through national Credit Union Awards (see Cuso-UK Credit Union, Supplier and Supporter member activities)
Create an effective operating model by employing the best products, services, people and processes and getting advice and training from successful co-operative and credit union development workers (see Cuso-UK Credit Union and Supplier member activities)
Build effective governance – increase the access of legislators, regulators, Directors, senior management and members to successful co-operative governance trainers and advisors (see Cuso-UK Cuso-UK Credit Union and Supplier member activities)
Develop and maintain sustainable financial ratios and financial management by introducing effective co-operative financial modelling and open, informative and accountable financial management (see Cuso-UK Credit Union and Supplier member activities)
4 key activities that will make sustainable growth more difficult
Undue levels of advice and guidance from people and organisations with little or no co-operative financial experience or values
Poor investment and implementation decisions for the movement – whether as grants or loans
A lack of awareness and ambition in the provision of products and services to members – i.e. self-employed & small business loans, affinity lending, and the development of Credit Union owned Cuso’s, significant Payroll Deduction activity, people centred activity and more
A movement that is itself un-cooperative and does not acknowledge the different needs of different types of credit unions community, company, industry society or other and the many voices they represent
The credit union sector continued to grow, with Britain on track to meet a target of two million members by 2020 and global push for 260 million members around the world by the same year
In January 2016, the Coop News recorded that the total of loans to CU in Britain members stood at £1.24bn, with the majority being distributed across Northern Ireland (£520m). Capital held by credit unions was £328m across the UK, while shares equalled £2.3bn. Bank of England confirmed that credit union membership in England, Scotland and Wales reached 1,635,952, an increase of 2.4% from the previous quarter.
The Guardian Newspaper published an article in July 2013, about the value of credit unions, but the limited access there is to them. http://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/jul/13/credit-unions-good-value-money-access-survey We expect Cuso-UK will help make inroads into this as Credit Unions engage product and service providers to credit unions with improved on-line access and improved services. ABCUL and Cornerstone are developing marketing programmes and on-line services with part of the CEUP funds, and alongside those, independent providers are also working to help Credit Unions gear up.
A new service offering simple savings accounts and "affordable" loans to military personnel, who can sometimes struggle to get access to financial products, has been launched by credit unions.
Money saving expert, Martin Lewis, announced his support for the new Armed Forces credit union services in October 2015. Take a look at the Credit Union guide to find out more about Credit Unions in Britain; http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/banking/credit-unions
CUSO-UK offered a free ticket for the first CUSO-UK national trade Fair and Conference due to be held in 2016. The Awards are a significant event in the British Credit Union calendar and are an incentive for Credit Unions to publicise their achievements in 14 different fields of activity. Held in London, the Filine and Biden awards are accessible and are helping build the reputation of British Credit Unions throughout the world.
RMT President Peter Pinkney, opened the launch of CUSO-UK at Congress House. The RMT has its own Credit Union for RMT members but Peter acknowledged the value of CUSO-UK to the whole movement, to the economy and to people suffering from the cost of living crisis, who have been tempted into high interest loans and ended up in severe debt. Unison will also be represented and they will themselves, be running a Credit Union event on 7th November, in London and have partnerships with around 70 Credit Unions. Unite is working with regionally based Credit Unions to to provide financial services to their members and GMB has its own Credit Union.
Chartered Institute of Payroll Professional (CIPP) have indicated their desire to support Credit Unions through their contact with over 8,000 employers.
Lindsay Melvin, CEO reinforced the organisations commitment to helping the poor in poverty. Following the panorama programme about working people, in receipt of benefits and struggling to put food on the table, Lindsay said we should all do something about it and that getting employees to use credit unions rather than payday and high interest lenders could put hundreds of pounds in peoples pockets each year’. Dave Martin, from CIPP will be attending the launch of Cuso-UK.
One of the celebrations for the 2014 International Credit Union Day, on 16th October, will be the launch of Cuso-UK at Congress House, 17th October. With speakers from across Britain, Cuso-UK is putting in place the foundations for the next step forward in British Credit Union movement. With providers of international products and services coming to the table, the British Credit Union movement is set to double in size in the next few years and likely to pass the £2 billion asset mark.
A £38,000,000 support programme for Credit Unions was launched in 2013 https://www.gov.uk/government/news/credit-union-38-million-expansion-deal-signed this offers a great opportunity to help credit unions forward in their presence and capability in Britain creating and accessible and affordable financial service for all. The patchy growth of Credit Unions in Britain will get a significant boost and we look forward to a sustainable Credit Union on every high street.