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Sheffield Credit Union spreading financial inclusion to gain members from wider demographics

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02 Mar 18

Sheffield Credit Union (SCU) has been working hard to promote financial inclusion with successful results for the community they serve.

Sheffield Credit Union is one of the many credit unions in Great Britain offering services to those affected by financial exclusion. In 2015 the credit union merged with Rothersave Credit Union to extend its services to neighbouring Rotherham.

Chief executive Jacqueline Hallewell says: “We have relocated to a much more visible position, streamlined our systems, built membership and completely changed the way we do lending.”

Now serving a much wider area base, Ms Hallewell describes what has been done to support the areas that need the credit unions help most. She says:  “South Yorkshire is in a low wages pocket generally, where Universal Credit has not been rolled out fully, and we support organisations and individuals because there is a lot of anxiety about it.

“We continue to help people with budgeting accounts to help them pay rent – that is offered in partnership with housing associations and prevents evictions in many cases. Although our direct funding has stopped, we still work with the council on various projects and offer an employee payroll scheme.”

SCU has made significant changes to improve their reputation to those unaware of the credit union services. Ms.Hallewell has introduced more suitable products for a wider demographic, she said: “We have improved the way we serve our members and diversified, increasing membership and improving the standing of credit unions. We are also starting to introduce more products suitable for people in work and homeowners, beating the banks for rates on loans and making sure our savings products are better. A lot of people want to invest with us because we are not-for-profit.

“By responding more quickly to what customers want, providing products which reward loyalty, and diversifying our work with partners while making sure our members are more financially included, we can ensure we do not lose sight of our social aims while keeping our business growing.”

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