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ABCUL welcome Roundtable events at Party conferences

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12 Oct 18

Another busy party conference season came to a close this week in Glasgow. At the Conservative, Labour and SNP conferences MPs, MSPs and senior representatives of ABCUL and Lloyds Banking Group met at a series of roundtable events organised by Lloyds.

The roundtable events hosted wide-ranging discussions around how credit unions can be expanded to play a wider role as an affordable alternative to high-cost credit and building financial resilience.  Robert Kelly described all three roundtable discussions as: “Greatly encouraging for the credit union sector”.

Discussions began at the Labour Conference in Liverpool with ABCUL President and Enterprise Credit Union Chief Executive, Karen Bennett, and ABCUL’s Head of Policy, Matt Bland.  The event welcomed Shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Johnathan Reynolds, as well as Lord Roy Kennedy, and MPs Rushanara Ali and Paul Sweeney.

This meeting was then followed later in the week at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham, ABCUL’s Chief Executive, Robert Kelly along with Matt Bland attended. They were pleased to welcome Economic Secretary, John Glen MP, and the Financial Inclusion Minister, Guy Opperman MP.   

Back in April, John Glen MP committed his support to the credit union sector and acknowledged the importance of the fund by Lloyds Banking Group, saying: “I am committed to promoting the benefits of credit unions, there are over 400 of them across the country, serving 1.9 million members, and each plays a vital role for the people and community they serve. The funding from Lloyds is fantastic news for the sector and I hope that other banks follow by example.”

Also in attendance was Advance Credit Union, who thanked Lloyds Bank Managing Director, Robin Bulloch, for the huge benefit they received from their award from the LBG’s Credit Union Development Fund.

After LBG committed an additional £1m to the credit union sector in April, Robin reinstated LBG’s “ambition to be the leading supporter of the UK’s credit unions”. The Credit Union Development Fund has helped over 66 credit unions and helped over 400,000 members across the UK, underscoring the bank’s commitment ‘Help Britain Prosper’.

Finally the series of roundtable events came to an end this week in Glasgow at the Scottish National Party Conference. ABCUL Chief Executive, Robert Kelly and ABCUL Director for Scotland, Carol McHarg were joined by Chris Stephens MP, and MSP’S Kate Forbes, John Mason and Ivan McKee.

Chief Executive of ABCUL, Robert Kelly spoke said: “At all three party conferences, the appetite and the widespread of enthusiasm for credit unions’ role in supporting the financially vulnerable was greatly encouraging for the sector. It was fantastic to see all of the country’s leading political parties show such a desire to work with credit unions and particularly see them as an ethical alternative of banking.

“From discussions at the events, it was clear that that people are looking for better options about where to save and borrow. We look forward to continuing our work with all three party representatives we met this week and thank them for the time they have taken for the sector this week. I would also like to add a special thanks to Lloyds Banking Group for the support it has shown over the years, particularly through its Credit Union Development Fund. Its impact amongst credit unions has been a huge benefit to the sector. Grant money has helped credit unions grow their lending by over £20 million, with this number set to exceed £25 million with year five of the fund”.

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