Abcul CEO announces 2022 priorities for UK credit union sector apex

A blog post from Robert Kelly looked at issues such as political lobbying on regulation, and guidance for the sector on compliance and mergers

The Association of British Credit Unions (Abcul) has revealed its objectives for 2022, which include supporting members with mergers and engaging with Treasury officials on legislative reform.

In a blog post for the organisation, CEO Robert Kelly looked back on 2021, describing some of Abcul’s initiatives related to Vision 2025, its long-term strategy.

“In the past year we have engaged directly with political figures across Great Britain,” he wrote, “notably to those in Scottish Parliament and the Senedd with the distribution of our Scottish and Welsh Politicians’ Guides to Credit Unions ahead of the devolved elections. We have also now published a further Politician’s Guide for England.

“The main discussion points with politicians include progress on legislative reform, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the sector, capitalising credit union growth, the role of credit unions in workplaces and the challenges of technology for our sector.“

He added: “Since launching our Vision 2025 Strategy document in March 2020, the Abcul staff team has worked tirelessly to support our member base in navigating the diverse challenges of the pandemic and being front and centre around continuing to deliver a fantastic membership service experience at the same time. Throughout these challenging times, the Vision 2025 Strategy is moving ahead at pace, and we are delivering on a range of commitments made in 2020.”

Another Vision 2025 objective is to explore the potential for a more strategic approach to mergers or transfer of engagements. Abcul carried out a consultation and set up a Strategic Merger Taskforce (SMT), which published a white paper report last November.

Going forward, the apex intends to support members with long-term strategic planning and finding suitable merger partners where appropriate, and will engage with stakeholders to explore how they can support strategic mergers in the sector.

It will also continue to provide paid-for compliance services for credit unions and further develop the Prize Linked Savings product. Launched by the Treasury in 2019 to encourage credit union savers, the scheme is now run by Abcul, which is also the owner of the Intellectual Property rights for Prizesaver on behalf of the participating credit unions.

Related: Abcul and incuto take over PrizeSaver scheme for credit unions

“Over £120,000 in prizes has been distributed to winners among the 16 Abcul member credit unions that are currently part of the scheme,“ said Mr Kelly. “It has been great to see the successful interaction and collaboration between the participating credit unions, and we look forward to developing this product and initiative in 2022 and beyond.”

Most crucial of all, he said, is ensuring a more favourable legislative environment for the sector. “In the coming 12 months, our key priority is the agenda surrounding legislative reform and ensuring changes are implemented which will give the credit union sector a more enabling legislative framework allowing product and service innovation.

“We remain in regular dialogue with HM Treasury officials, the PRA and the FCA around developing the timetable and detail of the final reform measures. We will also strive to continue to deliver more fully around our Vision 2025 Strategy commitments.”