Credit unions see membership triple

Loan portfolios expand five-fold and further growth is anticipated

Credit unions have seen their membership triple and their loan portfolios increase five-fold in the past decade, according to a report from the Association of British Credit Unions and the Co-operative Bank.

The Breaking Through to the Future report also suggests the majority of credit unions anticipate further growth in the future.

It is based on research by Liverpool John Moores University found that two thirds of the credit unions surveyed believe government policy has helped them. Three-quarters said delivering Department for Work and Pensions' Growth Fund loans has directly assisted their credit union.

The report also sets out the key strategic issues for the future and concludes that the potential for the sector to grow further is significant, providing credit unions collaborate to achieve economies of scale and greater innovation.  

"It's rewarding to see just how dramatically the credit union sector has developed and grown over the past 10 years," says Mark Lyonette, chief executive of the Association of British Credit Unions.

"In 1998, the research report Towards Sustainable Credit Union Development provided a catalyst for change in the credit union movement. This new report provides a valuable route map for credit unions for the next 10 years and will play a key role in how the sector develops in future."

The interim report is available on the Research Unit for Financial Inclusion website.

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