Haven Credit Union is now closed for business - March 2015

 

Haven Credit Union is now closed for business.  We would like to thank all past and present members, volunteers, staff and friends for all the fantastic support you have given us over our 22 years of operating.   

 

Credit Unions in Wales improve access to financial services

On 1st November 2013 the Prudential Regulatory Authority announced that there are now 1 million people in Britain who are members of credit unions.


A report commissioned by the Welsh Government has commended the progress made by the Access to Financial Services Through Credit Unions programme, which has provided almost �3.5 million in investment in 17 Welsh credit unions since 2009.

The programme closes in September this year and in its first 2 years Welsh credit unions have produced some impressive results.

Adult membership has risen from 41,500 to 54,000 (30% increase) and junior membership from 8,000 to 11,500 (44% increase). The increase in adult membership of around 12,500 over a 2 year period far exceeded the contract target of 7,500 over the full 3 year period of the programme. By way of comparison the membership figures for British credit unions as a whole, published by the Financial Services Authority, showed that adult membership had grown by just 10.75% and junior membership by 8.75% over the same period of time.

For the period October 2010 to December 2012, Welsh credit unions also saw members saving deposits rise from �20 million to �24 million (20% increase) and the amount on loan to members rise from �11.3 million to �16.5 million (46% increase).

The report finds that the support programme has made a "reasonable contribution" to credit union development in Wales coinciding with a "healthy growth in both credit union membership and asset base".

Having attained this positive progress, the report recommends that the Welsh Government continues to support the credit union sector in Wales following the conclusion of the programme later this year, arguing that "there is a strong argument for on-going compensatory funding" to financially excluded individuals.

The report also identifies a key tension that exists in current policy objectives for the sector in that the focus on tackling financial exclusion is diverting attention away from the challenge of assisting the sector to achieve financial self-sustainability.

It recommends that future support, both revenue and capital, should be targeted at those credit unions that are performing well, thus allowing for greater scope to achieve self-sustaining credit unions in Wales.

Jasmine Birtles, who set up and runs Moneymagpie.com, is a TV presenter, author, journalist and business commentator. She regularly appears as a financial expert on Daybreak, This Morning, The Wright Stuff and BBC Breakfast.

In the February 2012 edition of Reader's Digest, Jasmine cited credit unions as one of her best ways to borrow, saying : "I like credit unions. They are savings and loans organisations run by local people for local people. They can do small loans (unlike banks) and will help you manage your money to avoid financial trouble."