ABCUL reports record levels of lending and saving by credit unions in 2017

'Credit unions have huge potential to grow and meet the needs of more and more people across the country'

The Association of British Credit Unions (ABCUL) says many of its members have reported record trading results for 2017.

It says the results are “an encouraging sign of the sector’s growth potential – allowing credit unions to enhance the financial health of more people across the UK.”

Several examples were highlighted by ABCUL, including Merthyr Tydfil Borough Credit Union in Wales, where savings at the Christmas Savers Club were up 20% on 2016.

In St Helens, Merseyside, Enterprise Credit Union’s branch increased its lending from £160,000 to £435,000 just one year since opening,

And in Scotland, NHS Credit Union saw loans to members in the first quarter of the new financial year (October 1 to December 31) reach a record £3,039,642.42, up more than £500,000 on the same period last year.

The organisation also welcomed 555 new members in the same period – an increase of almost 56% on the previous year. More than 3,180 members took advantage loans from the credit union in that first quarter, more than 500 up on the same period in the previous year.

The growth follows a record-breaking year for the credit union in 2016-2017 which saw almost 17,000 health service staff all over the country share in a record dividend pay-out. Every member received a 1% return on their savings, from a total dividend pot of almost £163,000.

This, says ABCUL, is the fourth successive year that NHS Credit Union’s dividend rate has increased, and the 1% figure more than matches the interest rate on offer to most customers saving with high street banks.

Chief executive Robert Kelly paid tribute to efforts of staff and directors, describing the performance as a “tremendous success”.

He added “the overall picture for the business is hugely encouraging, and I’d like to thank all our members for their continued support”.

ABCUL’s chief executive Mark Lyonette said: “News like this from credit unions across the country is a fantastic way to start the new year.

“Credit unions have huge potential to grow and meet the needs of more and more people across the country and Enterprise, NHS and Merthyr Tydfil are just a few examples of how credit unions are living up to that potential.”

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