£38m ‘to provide credit to 1m people’
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Up to a million people could receive access to credit unions‘ services, thanks to a £38 million influx of government funds.


The new finance has been allocated to ABCUL, the Association of British Credit Unions Ltd, by minister for welfare reform Lord Freud.


As part of the larger Credit Union Expansion Project, it aims to unlock access to lending for a million Britons.


ABCUL chief executive Mark Lyonette says: “More credit unions will offer a wider range of products including current accounts, cash ISAs and innovative budgeting accounts.”


Lord Freud adds: “Credit unions offer an alternative to vulnerable people who have few safe options to get cash when they need it most.


“They are the antidote to predatory loan sharks or high-interest lenders.”


Allocation of the £38 million is due to take place through until March 2015, and ABCUL says its participation in the Credit Union Expansion Project will be supported by credit unions with membership of about 470,000.


Mr Lyonette suggests that the development is not only good news for borrowers, but also for the credit union industry in general.


This is because the funding will help to streamline and centralise commonplace tasks, and to introduce new, modern access channels to finance.


In this way, he says, the scheme “will make credit unions a much more attractive proposition to many more people and secure a solid future for the sector”.

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