Lloyds Banking Group to provide £1m per year to Credit Unions as part of its commitment to provide leadership in the area of financial inclusion

LONDON, 6-3-2014 — /EuropaWire/ — Lloyds Banking Group to provide £1m per year to Credit Unions as part of its commitment to provide leadership in the area of financial inclusion

Lloyds Banking Group commits £1m to Credit Unions per year

Lloyds Banking Group is today re-emphasising its commitment to provide leadership in the area of financial inclusion by announcing its intention to provide £1m per year to Credit Unions. It has also committed to support 1 in every 4 of Britain’s social banking customers.

This announcement falls during the week the Group revealed its full Helping Britain Prosper Plan where, for the first time, it revealed seven separate and significant public commitments to address some of the big issues facing Britain today. The Group’s commitment to Financial Inclusion will be delivered via four separate targets*.

Graham Lindsay, Director, Responsible Business for Lloyds Banking Group said: “Our Helping Britain Prosper Plan incorporates bold, public commitments to help address some of the big issues facing Britain today. It’s about putting customers and communities at the heart of everything we do. The Plan is not just for those customers enjoying relative prosperity, but also those facing financial difficulties. For this reason we believe our annual investment of £1m into Credit Unions is one of our most critical.”

Leeds Pilot:
Lloyds Banking Group commenced a pilot in September 2013 through 25 Lloyds and Halifax branches in the Leeds area to signpost appropriate customers to the Leeds City Credit Union and local money management charities. Over 1,000 customers to date have taken away information about these organisations.

The approach of the pilot programme, which was due to end this month, has been adopted on a permanent basis and will be expanded to a further nine UK flagship locations with the cascade of basic information becoming available through all Lloyds and Halifax branches.

Chris Smyth, Chief Executive, Leeds City Credit Union, said: “Credit Unions play a critical role. We know this from our pre-Christmas trading and coinciding with the Lloyds pilot, was 25% higher than the prior year. In this period our lending was almost £2m. This represents a terrific saving in terms of interest of £1.3m had these loans gone to a high cost lender instead.

“Our post Christmas trading during January and February is 100% up on the same period last year. We believe this is an exceptional turnaround and may indicate a serious shift in mood across our target market towards the credit union – which is great news for all.”

Mark Lyonette, Chief Executive of the Association of British Credit Unions (ABCUL) said, “We very much welcome the package of support for the credit union sector as announced today by Lloyds Banking Group. We look forward to working with the Group to ensure this generous investment complements the work that is already taking place to strengthen the sector. The Credit Union Expansion Project will benefit greatly from the secondment of Lloyds’ experts and the expansion of the signposting scheme should help many more people access appropriate services from their local credit union.”

Minister for Welfare Reform Lord Freud said: “Credit unions play a vital role in helping people build up savings and have access to loans, especially those who find it difficult to have mainstream high street bank accounts. This is why we are investing £38m to help credit unions modernise and grow.

“I absolutely welcome this support from Lloyds for extra funding and I particularly welcome the commitment to send experienced banking staff to support the growing efficiency of credit unions. I hope other banks will also consider this and provide support to help local credit unions.”

Sir Hector Sants said: “As Chair of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Task Group on responsible saving and credit, I am delighted to see the significant increase in support for credit unions by Lloyds Banking Group. It is exactly this type of assistance that is needed to enable credit unions to fulfil their role in the community. I am extremely grateful to Lloyds and, as a Task Group, we look forward to working as their partner.”

Lloyds Banking Group is Britain’s biggest provider of social bank accounts.

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Notes to editors:

Lloyds Banking Group is Britain’s biggest provider of social bank accounts. Many people seeking short term, low level loans are basic bank account customers who are declined a bank loan or overdraft. Banks will not lend to this Group of customers or provide overdrafts.

Last year the Department for Work and Pensions awarded a £38m contract to the Association of British Credit Unions (ABCUL) to modernise and grow the credit union industry, and establish it as a credible alternative to short term lenders.

Lloyds Banking Group will work closely with the Government, the Association of British Credit Unions and other bodies to carefully consider how this £1m should be invested as it looks for ways to lay down firm foundations that support vulnerable customers.

About Lloyds Banking Group’s Helping Britain Prosper Plan:
In developing the Helping Britain Prosper Plan over the past year, Lloyds Banking Group has worked with a range of stakeholders and key opinion formers, including The Group’s independent stakeholder panel.

Working with the professional services organisation EY, the underpinning prosper metrics that support the plan, have been designed based on a number of external benchmarks including; the Legatum Prosperity Index, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Better Life Index and the UK Quality of Life Indicators. This has allowed the Group to identify the best ways in which it can help Britain prosper through specific business activities and investments. The Helping Britain Prosper Plan documents the Group’s intention to focus on these activities, setting out clear commitments to help it measure its progress.

The Plan will provide a set of commitments that will be independently measured and monitored, focused on the areas where the Group can make the biggest difference and where it has the power to influence the most change for the benefit of customers and communities across the UK. Lloyds Banking Group is
the first bank to measure its economic and social impact in this way.

About Lloyds Banking Group
With a heritage of making a difference within its communities that spans decades, last year Lloyds Banking Group invested £85m in UK Communities. Through its branches and businesses the Group has the potential to reach every family and community in the UK, and places immense value on its commitment to helping Britain prosper. Driven by its desire to give back to the communities in which it operates, the Group supports a wide range of ground breaking programmes. Lloyds Scholars, Money for Life, Lloyds Bank and Bank of Scotland Community Fund, the School for Social Entrepreneurs, Business Connectors, Lloyds Bank Foundations and the Bank of Scotland Foundation are some, but not exhaustive, examples of the programmes it supports.

For further information please contact Heather Scott on 07770 643840 or
by email: heatherscott@halifax.co.uk

 

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