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Lloyds Fund backs 21 credit unions


19 Jan 17

Lloyds Banking Group has announced a further £1m in grants to an additional 21 credit unions through its Credit Union Development Fund.

Established in 2014 as part of Lloyds’ Helping Britain Prosper Plan and run in partnership with the Credit Union Foundation, the Fund is designed to strengthen the financial position of credit unions and give them the capacity to develop new strategies for sustained and effective growth, and to provide additional much-needed responsible lending to communities across Britain.

The Fund features two kinds of grant: large awards between £50,000 and £100,000 and seed funding awards between £10,000 and £20,000.

Eleven credit unions will receive large awards, intended to provide a contribution to their reserves and help remove barriers to growth and innovation, with another ten receiving seed funding awards to help make the changes they need to apply for a large award in a subsequent year or to pay for the costs of merger. Recipients of awards were selected by an independent grants panel.

Riverside Credit Union in Merseyside is one of the credit unions celebrating a Large Grant from the Fund this year. Having received £17,000 in 2015 for a new website, they have now been awarded a Large Grant of £90,000 for capital reserves.

The credit union's Chair Mike Knight said: “Riverside Credit Union were helped significantly with a seed grant that facilitated the development of our new website. This additional £90,000 grant from the Lloyds Foundation is a big deal. Don’t believe me? Ask our members!"

As well as Lloyds Banking Group's £4million investment over four years to the Fund, it also signposts customers it is unable to help to their local credit union where appropriate, and provides volunteering support.

Managing Director of Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland at Lloyds Banking Group Robin Bulloch said: “We undertook the largest survey of credit unions to date and they told us the most important role we can play in the credit union movement is as a funder.

"We are committed to being the leading supporter of credit unions in the UK, and our Development Fund underlines our public commitment to help Britain prosper. The £4 million fund will help the sector to lend an additional £20 million to their members."

Chair of the Credit Union Foundation and the Development Fund Grants Committee Liz Barclay said: “The Credit Union Foundation is proud to work in partnership with Lloyds Banking Group. Their £4 million investment over four years is innovative and pioneering and now that we're into the third year of the scheme we're seeing a big impact on sustainable credit union growth.

"Credit unions provide an ethical and affordable financial service to some of the hardest to reach and most financially excluded communities in the UK. We're seeing good quality applications for these capital awards from credit unions committed to expanding and improving the services they offer those communities."

The UK Government has welcomed the latest round of grants. Economic Secretary to the Treasury Simon Kirby MP said: “Credit unions play a vital role in their communities, providing access to affordable credit for those who need it most. "This funding from Lloyds will extend the reach of the sector even further and I look forward to seeing other banks following suit.”

The full list of credit union grants awarded by the 2016 round of the Lloyds Banking Group Credit Union Development Fund can be found here, and a further £1 million of funding will open for applications soon.

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