Today, October 21st 2021, is the 73rd anniversary of the first International Credit Union Day!
Through the pandemic, we have been heartened to see news stories of Credit Unions providing opportunities – and removing the space for loan sharks and payday lenders.
If you’ve not encountered Credit Unions before – what are they?
Credit unions are an alternative to banks and building societies – and also to payday and doorstep lenders. They are financial co-operatives owned by the people who use their services. The members have something in common – it might be that they live or work in the same place. Typically, they offer savings and lending to their members. Some operate online while others operate in physical locations. Some have a direct connection with an employer, enabling payroll savings – so easy! Like other co-ops, each member has one vote and volunteer directors are elected from the membership, by the membership.
Globally, Credit Unions bring loans to some of those who find accessing traditional finance hardest – to rural communities, low earners, and it is estimated that around 300 million people are members of some 86,000 Credit Unions in 118 countries.