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Centre for Community Finance Europe hosts its first conference


25 Jan 19

Last week over 100 delegates from 30 credit unions across England, Ireland, Scotland and Romania came together for the first Centre for Community Finance Europe Members' Conference.

Established in 2017, the Centre for Community Finance Europe (CFCFE) provides independent, high-quality research in support of credit unions and similar community-based financial providers in Europe.

Chair of CFCFE, Ralph Swoboda opened the conference speaking to members about the importance of the two themes that were prominent during the day, ‘Collaboration and Community impact’. Ralph said: “We are delighted to bring so many people together from the credit union movement in the UK and Ireland for this unique event, and starting or continuing valuable debates and conversations. We are looking forward to presenting more research reports in 2019 that help credit unions grow and better serve their members.”

Delegates heard from a range of expert speakers that followed the themes of Collaboration and Community Impact.

1st Alliance (Ayrshire) Credit Union’s Carol McHarg presented about collaboration amongst credit unions. Carol gave an insight to the Carnegie Trust partnership that gave an opportunity for 1st Alliance to work together and pilot an Employers Engagement project for payroll deduction. It was an area that 1st Alliance wanted to grow and develop which otherwise would have been difficult on their own with less chance to enhance committed time and resources.

Speaking on behalf of the Greater Manchester Consortium of credit unions, ‘SoundPound’ was Christine Moore from Manchester Credit Union. Christine spoke about how collaboration has benefited the consortium and made a big impact in their surrounding communities. Since SoundPound was established they now have combined savings of over £24m and total assets across the consortium standing at £29.4m.

Christine shared the group’s ambition to make Manchester a Fair Finance City and target to triple credit union membership in Manchester which currently is at 57,000. The network has received support from Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham in the past where he stated: “Our community credit unions are the local, ethical alternative to the high-interest payday loan companies and loan sharks.

“I hope even more people in Greater Manchester will sign up to their local credit union and show that there is a real, local, alternative when it comes to saving and borrowing.”

You can read a version of the presentations from the conference on the CFCFE website here.


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