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The future of the British credit union movement shines bright at the ABCUL Annual Conference

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15 Mar 19

Credit union delegates from across the country descended on the Midland Hotel last weekend to hear from a range of expert speakers and share best practice at ABCUL’s Annual Conference over the course of last weekend.

Speakers gave their insights about key issues for Britain’s credit unions to over 330 representatives of ABCUL members.

The conference saw ABCUL Chief Executive, Robert Kelly launch a major Townhall Consultation which will take place over the rest of 2019 with events across the country and the aim of setting a 2025 vision for the future of British credit unions.  Robert provided an overview of the consultation themes and set out plans for an inclusive and open process engaging members, the wider credit union movement and sector stakeholders.

The session was facilitated by organisational change expert, Dr Brandi Stankovic of CU Solutions in the USA. Speaking to delegates of the conference, Brandi said that credit unions around the world face challenges in terms of technology, enterprise risk management, and governance.

Keynote Speaker, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen MP highlighted new measures to support credit unions. Speaking to delegates on Saturday, he said: “I have a strong personal belief in the contribution credit unions make to this country and our economy.

“You are doing a wonderful job and I want to be here to support you in the next stage of your development as you serve our country. The challenge for you as a sector is to ensure that social and community lenders can go toe to toe with larger, commercial competitors.”

There was a wide range of workshop sessions aimed at sharing best practice and raising awareness of key issues impacting credit unions and their members including digital marketing, employer engagement, and strategic business planning.

CEO of Clockwise Credit Union, Teresa Manning updated delegates on an exciting and innovative digital and IT project to extend the credit union’s online reach. The team at Clockwise has developed a real time member portal, migrated to the cloud and launched a mobile app. The project was designed based on member feedback asking for 24/7 online account access.  Now 90% of all of the credit union’s new business originates online.

The conference was glad to welcome a delegation of representatives of the US Community Development Credit Unions from their representative body, Inclusiv, which created an additional buzz around the conference. Pearl Wicks, Chief Operating Officer of Hope Federal Credit Union in Mississippi, spoke on the role of credit unions in extending financial inclusion. 

On the Saturday night, the evening gave opportunities for credit unions’ to celebrate the successes and achievements within the movement.  The CU Futures class of 2019 graduated in front of the assembled delegates. 

Special thanks are due to Peach State Federal Credit Union, which continues to support the CU Futures programme.  Many credit unions and supporters donated in support of the ongoing CU Futures programme as part of Saturday’s celebrations.

ABCUL President, Karen Bennett presented annual awards which acknowledge members who have made a significant impact in the credit union movement. The Kirit Patel Award for outstanding contribution to an ABCUL Forum was presented to Clive Rix of Nottingham Credit Union.

The Tracy Slane Award was presented to Megan White of Metro Moneywise Credit Union and Mikey Jones from Police Credit Union. The award is achieved for outstanding contribution of a young person in the credit union movement.

And the Rose Dorman Lifetime Achievement award was bestowed upon David Martin of Hull & East Yorkshire Credit Union for his tireless efforts in support of North Lincolnshire Credit Union before its merger with HEYCU and as Director and Treasurer of ABCUL. 

ABCUL and the Credit Union Foundation would like to thank all of our supporters, partners and sponsors for making the event a success.  In particular, we would like to recognise CMutual for their continued support and sponsorship at the ABCUL Annual Conference 2019.

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