LONDON – In an attempt to help publicize the positive role credit unions play, particularly in light of the recent global economic crisis, the United Kingdom’s Unity Trust Bank last week launched the country’s first-ever National Credit Union Awards for Excellence program. World Council of Credit Union’s (WOCCU) Director Marlene Shiels, chief executive of Capital Credit Union in Edinburgh, Scotland, participated in the launch of the program, which will recognize its first round of honorees in February 2011.
“Every day, more than 49,000 credit unions worldwide provide products and services to their members, especially those demonstrating the greatest financial need,” said Shiels to assembled dignitaries in the Lord Clement Attlee Room of the U.K.’s House of Lords on July 22. “These awards are a tribute to those credit unions and individuals who have gone above and beyond on behalf of their members.”
The National Credit Union Awards for Excellence, which Unity Trust Bank organizers say have been modeled after similar programs in Canada and the United States, will recognize top performers in the areas of marketing, community mobilization, credit union education, fundraising and active partnerships, as well as provide an award to a single benefactor of the U.K.’s credit union movement. The top honor, as drawn from all six categories, is named after Edward A. Filene, the Boston merchant who helped pioneer the U.S. credit union movement. Winners in each category will receive trophies and cash awards.
“These awards emphasize that our historic support for credit unions remains a long-term commitment and a fundamental building block in our strategy of promoting key social initiatives such as tackling financial and social exclusion,” said Kevin Turmore, managing director of Unity Trust, which provides banking services to more than 48% of the U.K.’s credit unions. “I am delighted with the overwhelmingly positive response from credit unions.”
Although not formally a part of the awards judging panel, WOCCU representatives have been invited to participate in the ceremony recognizing award winners early next year.
World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development agency for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.
World Council has implemented more than 290 technical assistance programs in 71 countries. Worldwide, 57,000 credit unions in 103 countries serve 208 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.