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Credit unions in the UK continue to grow

Annual figures for credit unions in the UK, published by the Bank of England, show that the credit union movement in the United Kingdom continues to grow.

The latest data, which covers the 2020 financial year, shows that UK credit unions now serve over two million people and have assets worth almost £4 billion.

The new figures illustrate the rapid growth of the British credit union movement in recent years. Since 2008, credit union membership has increased from just over 650,000 members to 2.15 million. In England alone, the data shows that credit unions now serve over 900,000 members, with more than £1 billion in savings and £660 million on loan.

Total assets for credit unions across the UK increased by 11.4% in 2020, reaching their highest ever reported value at £3.98 billion. Credit union lending increased in every UK region in quarter 4 2020, with the total value of loans rising by 2.4% to £1.63 billion. Total relevant liabilities exceeded £3 billion for the first time on record, up by 15% in 12 months.

Credit Union Chief Executive Martin Groombridge said: “The continued growth of the credit union sector in the UK, during the difficult circumstances of the last 18 months, shows just how important and necessary credit unions really are. As well as offering a much-needed source of affordable lending, people from all walks of life trust credit unions as a safe and ethical place to keep their savings.”

Meanwhile, figures published by the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) echo this growth on the global stage. The most recent WOCCU statistics containing data from 2019 showed that 86,000 credit unions are now serving over 291 million people in 118 countries. By comparison, in 2006 it was reported that 46,000 credit unions served over 172 million people across 97 countries.

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