Preview: Abcul annual conference

Fintech, digital and youth engagement are all on the agenda

Going digital, increasing cyber security and measuring social impact are on the agenda as the UK credit union sector gathers for its annual conference.

The Association of British Credit Unions (Abcul) conference, held in Manchester on 8-9 March, will feature a range of plenaries, workshops and speakers – including Caroline Siarkiewicz, from Single Financial Guidance Body. This is a new organisation bringing together the three existing providers of government-sponsored financial guidance.

Plenaries include a look at regulatory updates from Shoib Khan of the Prudential Regulation Authority, Lucy Castledine of the Financial Conduct Authority and Matt Bland from Abcul. This is followed by a choice of workshops – looking at the FCA’s view on going digital, operational resilience, digital marketing, tackling bad practices in the insolvency industry and ways to boost lending.

In a second plenary, Abcul CEO Robert Kelly joins Paul Walsh from Cuna Mutual and sector advocate Brandi Stankovic to discuss the future of the movement.

Day two – which includes Abcul’s AGM – features a keynote speech from John Glen, economic secretary to the Treasury, plus workshops on regulation, fraud prevention, resilience and risk management, employer engagement, mergers, cyber security, vulnerable consumers, measuring social impact and strategic business planning.

There are two plenaries – the first looking at financial inclusion with Karen Rowlingson of Birmingham University, Martin King of Lloyds Banking Group and Pearl Wicks from Hope Community Development Credit Union, Mississippi. The second looks at fintech and digital, with Sheenagh Young from South Manchester Credit Union, Andrew Duncan from CU Soar, and Anna Laycock from Financial Innovation Lab.

The conference also sees Abcul launch its Young Professionals Network, created to provide a “robust and dynamic environment for young credit union professionals to connect, learn and live out co-operative values to enable them to develop into credit union leaders, and retain their talent within the British movement”.

Debbie Smith-Hands, from Pennine Community Credit Union and The North West Youth Forum – another new Abcul initiative to engage the next generation – said: “The network will bring training and development opportunities for young people working in the sector and a platform for our future credit union leaders to connect with like-minded people. These networks are vital in order to retain young talent in our sector and I would urge all credit unions with staff members that fit the criteria to encourage them to get involved.”

Abcul’s head of member services, Rosanna Donovan, added: “I am particularly excited to see the positive developments in engaging younger staff through the forums and am delighted a number of them will be joining us in Manchester.”

The conference ends with the CU Futures 2017 Graduation and 2019 awards presentation, followed by dinner.

For more information, and to book, click here.