West Wales Credit Union Celebrates International Credit Union Day
1:45pm Monday 14th October 2013 in News
WEST Wales Credit Union is marking International Credit Union Day on 17th October with the launch of its new website. Having recently opened a new premises in Carmarthen, the credit union is expanding its services to provide members with an online banking facility that will allow them to review balances and apply for loans.
Welsh Credit Unions have a great deal to celebrate on International Credit Union Day on 17th October as the movement grows in strength. There are currently over 70,000 credit union members in Wales and with ambitious plans for the future, thousands more are expected to join with membership projected at 142,000 by 2020.
Credit Unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives that provide an effective and viable alternative to mainstream banks. They exist to serve their members, providing a safe place to save money and access affordable loans. At present there are 200 million credit union members in 101 countries worldwide.
The Welsh Government has recently committed £1.25m to further support the work of the Welsh credit union network from October 2013 through to March 2014, aimed at achieving an acceleration in growth above the current rate. The project will support credit unions to provide financial services to people across Wales and not just to those in the greatest need. Credit unions can be a life line for those who are financially excluded but they can also offer very competitive services to those on higher incomes.
Vanessa Owens, operations manager of West Wales Credit Union comments: “We’re really proud to be launching a new website that better reflects what our members need and the direction that we want to go in. By providing members with online banking capabilities, they can access data whenever they choose, rather than having to visit our branches or our collection points. Also, with our new premises in Carmarthen and our existing branch in Cardigan we are committed to working with our members across a wider area in West Wales.”
Bill Hudson, Manager of the All Wales Credit Union Support Programme, comments: “International Credit Union Day provides a fantastic opportunity to educate people about the benefits of joining a credit union. As well as being a more ethical banking method as funds remain within your community, credit unions are a great partner for communities pushing to become more resilient and attempting to counteract the invasion of high cost predatory lenders in Wales. . We encourage members to save on a regular basis even when they borrow from the credit union in order to instil sound financial awareness and with APR for credit union loans capped at 2% per month we are a far more affordable option than many banks and other high street lenders particularly on smaller value loans.
“It’s an exciting time for credit unions in Wales as we grow and strengthen the movement. We have learned a great deal from credit unions in other countries where the movement is more established and we hope to emulate that success here in Wales.”
Since 1948, International Credit Union Day has been celebrated annually on the third Thursday of October. This year’s theme, “Credit Unions Unite for Good: A Better Way” emphasises the benefits of cooperation among credit unions worldwide. It also speaks to the powerful global network of 56,000 credit unions and the advantages that result from sharing challenges, experiences and solutions with one another to better serve members.