Credit union apex Abcul charts its performance with member survey

The association scored highly on value for money and meeting members’ needs, but there were calls for more board diversity and wider media coverage

The Association of British Credit Unions (Abcul) has released a member feedback survey which reveals 89% approval rates on value for money, preparation for legislative changes and fitting services to members’ needs.

Abcul say the survey shows how it “has taken members’ feedback on areas for improvement and implemented change to achieve its targets”.

The survey also found that 80% were satisfied with the lobbying of government for enabling regulation and 86% were satisfied with the information guides available to Abcul members on the website.

In terms of promoting the sector with other stakeholders, Abcul scored lower, 63%, but said: “We are preparing for the upcoming UK general election expected in 2024 and making sure we have the links we need to work robustly and cohesively with any future government.

“We continue to engage with Fair4All Finance and other potential funding bodies to push for effective investment in credit unions.“

Meanwhile, 21% of responses said diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is not enough of a priority on the Abcul board.

In response, Abcul said its inclusivity group “continues to make recommendations to the board and team and ensures that DEI is kept high on the agenda of the association. DEI information is being expanded on the members’ website and through member mailings and webinars.

“The recommendations of the recent Abcul board Structure Review Working Group were delivered to the board in November 2023 and the board are now building content for motions to the AGM in March 2024 around further positive change in this key area.”

Also on inclusion, 80% of members said feel welcome at Abcul’s online and in-person events. Abcul said: “We feel strongly that everyone should feel welcome and able to be themselves and express their opinions at Abcul events. We continue to strive to improve the nature of our inclusive culture across the organisation.”

The report also found that members felt Abcul needed to work for further representation of credit unions in the media. The apex says that in 2023 there were more than 50 items of news coverage across ITV News, BBC News, Radio 4 and local radio stations., and that it collaborated with communication specialists to produce a PR toolkit to assist members with local media opportunities.

Based on member feedback, Abcul will this year launch a new website, “which will be easy to navigate with the important information displayed”.

Special interest groups have been introduced to provide an opportunity for credit unions with different interests to come together and be supported by Abcul staff.

“Abcul is proud to showcase the ways in which we take our members’ feedback seriously and use it to inform our strategy,” said CEO Robert Kelly. “As a co-operative trade association our members are at the heart of all our efforts and try hard to deliver the best services possible

“It is encouraging to see members’ high levels of satisfaction in these key areas, but we are always working to improve further. A huge win for Abcul and the sector was achieving legislative reform, and we are engaging in conversations around future priorities including common bond reform.”