Boost for UK Credit Unions

Barclays Bank to help UK credit unions
Credit unions in the United Kingdom have received an offer of help from what could be considered a very surprising source: Barclays Bank. The bank has handed over £1m and offered credit unions space in their branches, advice and assistance from Barclays staff as well as free access to it’s mobile payment system.

For anyone unfamiliar with the term, a credit union is a not-for-profit run organization that offers financial services similar to banks, like loans and saving accounts. A big difference is that unlike banks, credit unions are owned by their members and put quality of service before profit.

What makes the offer from Barclays so surprising is that not only are they aiding what is effectively the competition, they are what is commonly considered the worst of all the UK banks. They recently headed the list of most complained about UK banks as reported here.

This has led many to believe that this is just an attempt by the bank to get some rare good publicity and maybe gain some goodwill. While it is hard to argue with that point of view, the fact is that this is a great result for credit unions and the people that use them. It will not only help them practically and financially, it will help them get access to more customers, which can only be a good thing.

The Movement for Change has welcomed the decision, and while we are far from fans of Barclays we think this is a win for everybody and a bit of welcome good news.

You can read more about the move on The Independent website.

Philip

2 Comments

  1. Well… even the worst banks need publicity 😀 I think this is a smart move from their part, as you said, it may be an attempt to get some good publicity. With the recession these days everyone is looking for better options, and they’re not it.

    • True. The big institutions like banks are often the slowest to change. While they could get away with a lot in the past, customers these days will vote with their feet, so to speak, and take their business elsewhere. It’s probably quite a smart move by Barclays as not only do they get a rare bit of good publicity from it, the fact that the credit unions will be located inside a Barclays Bank means that people will still visit and have some ties to the bank.

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