Andy Burnham backs credit union ‘Oscars’

'I am a huge supporter of the credit union way of doing business. Credit unions transform people’s lives'

The eighth annual ‘credit union Oscars, that celebrate the sector’s work around the world, was held in Manchester this month, with the support of regional mayor Andy Burnham.

Mr Burnham, Labour/Co-op mayor for the devolved Greater Manchester Combined Authority, sent a message that was read out at the event by Jeff Seneviratne, vice chair of Credit Unions for Greater Manchester.

“I am a huge supporter of the credit union way of doing business,” said Mr Burnham. “Credit unions transform people’s lives because they help them manage their finances in a way that means they don’t have to resort to loan sharks and payday lenders.

“I’m proud to say that Greater Manchester Combined Authority will be working with the consortium of credit unions and other partners across Greater Manchester over the coming months. I welcome their co-operative way of working.”

It is the first time the awards, organised by the International Credit Union Leadership Development & Education Foundation (ICULDEF), have been held in Manchester.

The event saw the Joe Biden Award for Development Educator of the Year go to individuals working in Asia, Africa, Europe and, for the first time from, North America – recognising their efforts in serving communities in a spirit of co-operation.

The winners were:

Asia: Marilou Guanzon-Apalisok, executive training director of The Storytelling Power of Co-Operatives, Cebu City, Philippines;

Africa: Peter Owira Onunga, manager, Sacco Supervision, Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority, Nairobi, Kenya

Europe: Malcolm Ngouala, Hoot Credit Union Ltd, Bolton

USA: Shelli McCoy, vice president operations, Tarrant County’s Credit Union, Forth Worth, Texas

Winners and runners up of the Great Britain and Ireland Edward Filene Credit Union Awards for Performance Excellence were all also celebrated, with Community First Credit Union from Mexborough in South Yorkshire scooping the top Award for Social Entrepreneurship.

Credit Unions for Greater Manchester, a consortium of eight credit unions, won the award for ‘Pursuing International Co-Operative Alliance Principle 6 – Co-operation Amongst Co-operatives’ in recognition of the way they joined forces to serve their communities and bring the unique credit union difference to everyone within the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

ICULDEF trustee, Barry Epstein, thanked everyone for supporting the credit union movement and said: “We are proud and humble to be part of it – go out and let the world know what we have to offer.”

The full list of winners can be found here.

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