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Credit Union shares the positive impact of the Lloyds Banking Groups Credit Union Development Fund

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14 Dec 18

The Lloyds Banking Group Credit Union Development Fund has been running since 2014 and its success led the group to extend the scheme by a further £1m in January seeing grants to an additional 21 credit unions in 2018. Recipient credit unions have made great strides in their service to members as a result.  

Established in 2014 as part of Lloyds’ Helping Britain Prosper Plan and run in partnership with the Credit Union Foundation, the Fund is designed to strengthen the financial position of credit unions and give them the capacity to develop new strategies for sustained and effective growth, and to provide additional much-needed responsible lending to communities across Britain. The Fund features two kinds of grant: large awards between £50,000 and £100,000 and seed funding awards between £10,000 and £20,000.

Pennine Community Credit Union (PCCU) reported to ABCUL this week that since being awarded £50,000 in 2017 they have significantly helped their community. PCCU applied for the fund to help open a collection point at Spacious Place Engage Furniture.  Spacious Place Engage Furniture has been developed by a local food bank.  The aim of the project is a holistic approach to engage with people who use the food bank, assess why they use it and create a plan to help in assisting them to gain habitable accommodation, access furniture, and help with benefit claims with the aim of finding work.

The fund has enabled PCCU to open a collection point and engage with people who would use the food bank and pay weekly Rent to Own stores, often at a much higher interest rate. PCCU therefore helps people to manage their money better resulting in more disposable income.

The funding was also used to help with buying a property in Burnley town centre.  The branch is now open and proving to be extremely busy.  It is located on the high street with high visibility and near to a main pay weekly store.

PCCU President Gerard Spain welcomed the funding and celebrated opening PCCU’s new branch on Burnley’s high street, Gerard said: “At a time when some businesses and banks are vacating the high street, by opening this branch we are telling the community that PCCU are committed to providing saving and borrowing facilities to Burnley and Pendle for many years”

Support has also been given from Burnley Borough Council and Burnley MP Julie Cooper. Speaking at the launch of PCCU’s new headquarters, Julie said: "At a time when local people are experiencing low wages or worrying about the expensive Christmas period it is good to know the credit union are here to help."

In January when the new funding was granted to credit unions, John Glen, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, added: “I am committed to promoting the benefits of credit unions. There are over 400 of them across the country, serving 1.9 million members, and each plays a vital role for the people and community they serve. This funding from Lloyds is fantastic news for the sector and I hope that other banks follow by example.”

The fund has helped 66 credit unions lend over £20 million to its members, with this number set to exceed £25 million by the end of 2018.

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