The first credit union in Wales was registered in the 1980s. St Therese’s Credit Union initially served the Catholic community of a Port Talbot housing estate. Membership of Welsh credit unions grew throughout the 1990s, as they helped to deliver anti-poverty and Financial Inclusion policies in cooperation with local authorities and national charities.
By 1997, 31 credit unions were registered in Wales, which fell to 26 by 2010 following mergers between smaller credit unions. Between them, the 26 credit unions achieve all-Wales coverage.
Often taking ideas from Ireland and North America, credit unions in Wales have played a significant role in reaching under-served and excluded communities. They have been a particular safety net for many in rural communities who have increasingly restricted access to affordable financial services.
Figures released by the Bank of England demonstrate the dramatic growth of the credit union movement in Wales over the last two decades. The average annual rate of membership growth over the past few years has been greater in Wales than in any other part of the UK. In 2016, Wales served almost 80,000 members (14,000 junior) who were saving £36.6 million and borrowing £21.6 million.
During the year 2020 a sample of 13 credit unions found that people in Wales saved between £13.5 million and £15.9 million by choosing a credit union over a payday lender.
News Extra HERE
Over the years, we have collected various video content covering the history of Welsh Credit Unions.
Former Credit Union Clips HERE
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