Volunteers: Your Credit Union needs you

The Government is committed to supporting the expansion of credit unions as a key way of tackling financial exclusion and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is spearheading the expansion project with a £38m investment. But the investment alone won’t make the project happen.

Let’s start thinking about how the wider civil service can play a part to help the transformation of the sector to expand and serve a larger and more diverse membership.

Volunteers are a key part of credit unions and civil servants can offer business and developmental skills across a wide range of disciplines which although not exhaustive includes: IT, finance, strategy planning, business development, customer service, HR and governance.

By getting involved in your local credit union you can:

  • give something back to your community
  • utilise your skills and attributes
  • access training
  • benefit your own personal development
  • attain a sense of real achievement

hc formalHoward Coussens, a DWP senior finance business partner was persuaded by a colleague to become a Board member of the Sheffield credit union.

 I believe more civil servants volunteering their services to credit unions would be good news for credit unions, their members and consumers and to the individuals themselves. Credit Unions offer a safe and easy way of saving which is always a good habit to get into, even if it’s only a very small amount. They are also a source of ethical and affordable loans. They don’t add on interest up front, or make charges for early repayment of loans, as many financial institutions do. I get a huge amount of satisfaction from being a part of the credit union. Not only by being able to use my skills and knowledge as a qualified Accountant to help the Sheffield Credit Union and put them on a much firmer financial footing, but also out of seeing the organisation develop and occasionally rescue the less fortunate from the clutches of the extortionate pay day lenders. I would definitely encourage anyone to get involved with their local credit union as a volunteer or Board member.

So what are Credit Unions?

There are around 370 credit unions in Great Britain. They are co-operative mutual businesses owned and controlled by their members. They are operated by a board of non- executive and unpaid directors for and on behalf of those members and they are regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority. They offer a range of services from savings to low cost ethical lending plus in some cases budgeting or bank accounts.

Could you help this transformation? Want to find out more?

Visit to find out where your local credit unions are based and how you could help.

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