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ABCUL celebrates International Credit Union Day at House of Commons

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19 Oct 18

Wednesday 17 October saw the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Credit Unions held its sixth annual International Credit Union Day (ICUD) reception at the House of Commons.

This year’s celebration is particularly special as the global credit union movement’s annual day reaches its 70th anniversary. The day is celebrated worldwide to reflect on the history of the credit union sector, promote its achievements and to recognise the hard work in which members of staff and volunteers have dedicated.

The reception was sponsored by Citi who have supported the credit union sector, including through establishing the CU Futures young leaders’ programme and international partnerships between UK and US credit unions. Head of Public Sector Banking, David Walker took time to welcome delegates and expressed, in particular, his pleasure in seeing the class of 2019 CU Futures join in celebrations in London.

Delegates also heard from,  Pawel Grzesik of the National Association of Co-operative Savings and Credit Unions in Poland,. In July the winners of the 2018 CU Futures group project travelled to Gdansk for a special study tour to meet with Polish Credit Unions.

Pawel spoke about the role of credit unions in supporting Poland’s working class households and the rebirth of credit unions, with support from Solidarity and the Catholic Church, following the collapse of communism in the early 1990s.  He spoke passionately about the need for credit unions to collaborate both at home and internationally and of how Poland’s credit unions would not have achieved all that they have without the support of their international colleagues.

The reception followed the election of a new Chair to the Group, Bim Afolami MP, who has represented the Hitchin and Harpenden constituency since the 2017 general election. He has strong ambitions to support the development of credit unions across the country and spoke of his goals in terms of raising awareness of credit unions, building consensus around what’s needed to support credit unions and delivering meaningful reforms to provide an enabling environment for credit union growth. 

ABCUL Chief Executive, Robert Kelly welcomed Bim’s election saying: “We are delighted that Bim has been elected to lead the APPG on Credit Unions. He is becoming Chair at an exciting time for credit unions with the sector’s profile higher than ever.

“Hearing his speech today at our celebration fills me with enthusiasm for the future. His passion to support the development of credit unions is very encouraging and he will play an important role to provide ethical, affordable and inclusive financial services up and down the country”.

Robert addressed delegates in London the importance of International Credit Union Day and thanking the thousands who contribute to the sector each day. Robert said: "It is very humbling to see the widespread support for credit unions on International Credit Union Day. The sector’s profile and role grows with every passing year and we were delighted to see WOCCU’s goal of reaching 250 million members globally by 2020 surpassed with years to spare. 

“It is appropriate today to thank the thousands of volunteers and staff that work in credit unions around the country who are committed to providing great value financial services. They are not driven by profit, but by the desire to meet the needs of their community”.

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