Actor and social activist Michael Sheen has released a video in which he encourages people to join their local credit union.
The Hollywood star, a supporter of credit unions, comes from Port Talbot, which has been in decline after deindustrialisation. In the video, he explains how profits stay within the credit union and the local community.
A member of a credit union himself, Mr Sheen has been active in promoting co-operative business models as a means to empower communities. Last year he helped promote the campaign Say No to Debt Row, which presented credit unions as “responsible alternative” sources of credit.
Prior to the general election, Mr Sheen published an open letter to candidates, asking them to champion social enterprises, co-operatives and charities.
He has also worked with the Wales Co-operative Centre to launch Community Shares Wales and is a patron of Social Enterprise UK, the umbrella organisation for social enterprises. In July the actor attended Co-operative Congress in Wakefield, an annual event hosted by Co-operatives UK. He took part in a fringe session run by Social Enterprise UK at the Co-operative Party’s annual conference in London earlier this month.
Released on International Credit Union Day, the video highlights the benefits of using credit unions for savings and low-interest loans.
He describes credit unions as community banks, with account holders receiving membership.
“This is the fantastic thing about credit unions,” says Mr Sheen. “It’s run for and by the members, and profits go back into the credit unions. It doesn’t go to the city, or to the staff, or to corporate shareholders, it stays within that credit union; your money stays within your community.”
The video argues that if more people were to join credit unions, the UK would be a fairer country. Published on the official YouTube channel of the Association of British Credit Unions (ABCUL), it includes information on how to find local credit unions via the Find Your Credit Union website.