This week, Just Finance Foundation and CUF’s research and policy team have released a new report: More than Just Credit? the experience of credit unions building financial resilience in communities.
The Just Finance Foundation has a vision to contribute to the creation of a fair and just financial system that is accessible and open to all. Credit unions, which offer fair, affordable finance, available to everyone in the local community, have an important role to play in that vision.
The report, along with two short films, which you can read and watch here: http://bit.ly/2Ja3NIz. The report and videos bring to life some of the inspiring stories of a number of credit unions, their members and the communities they serve, within the JFF Locals Network. These stories highlight the impact that credit unions can have, both as sources of fair and affordable credit to meet immediate need, as well as place-based institutions that support individuals and communities to build their longer-term financial resilience.
For example, you can read about Alex, who aged 16 came out of care as a single mother and had no choice but to turn to payday lenders for financial support. Several years later she has repaid all of her debt, and supports others in financial difficulty,
Credit unions however, as the report sets out, frequently suffer from a limited visual presence, insufficient capacity and a range of other challenges, and that innovation is required to meet these challenges. This report sets out these challenges and offers some promising solutions.
It is our hope that this piece of work will serve as a tool to raise awareness about the brilliant work that Credit Unions are doing in communities, as credible, ethical alternatives to mainstream finance, and the impact this is having on individual and community-wide financial resilience , as powerfully demonstrated by some of the testimonies in this report and the videos.
We hope that in reading this report, you will be encouraged to join your local credit union, and consider not just saving with them, but taking out your next loan from them. Encouraged, at an organisational or local authority level, to partner with local credit unions as key allies in a place-based approach to financial resilience. Above all, encouraged to believe that a fairer financial system is possible, one in which everyone can flourish.
If you would like to find out about your local credit union and how you can get involved, visit: https://www.findyourcreditunion.co.uk/