The following post is provided by the Association of British Credit Unions Limited, World Council's direct member association in Great Britain.
ABCUL Chief Executive Robert Kelly officially launched Vision 2025 at the ABCUL Annual Conference in March 2020 and work on delivering its aim is well underway.
Our Vision 2025 is the output of a sector wide consultation – a shared vision, strategy and roadmap that will support the sector to develop and fulfill its mission to be a key provider of affordable and ethical financial services to the people of Great Britain.
Since launching our Vision 2025, which seems a lifetime ago in so many ways given what the world has experienced and continues to experience, the ABCUL staff team has worked tirelessly to support our member base in navigating the diverse challenges of the pandemic and being front and center around continuing to deliver a fantastic membership service experience at the same time. Throughout these challenging times though, our Vision 2025 Strategy is moving ahead at pace and we are delivering on commitments made in 2020.
Digital provision of services is front and center in our vision for the sector and British credit unions overwhelmingly agree that an increase in the pace of digitization will enable the sector to overcome some of its key development challenges, including contributing to more efficient operations and reductions in operating costs, easing the journey of consumers to choose credit unions and access to their products and services, and establishing a strong evidence base of who credit unions are currently serving and what their needs are.
Credit unions in Britain overwhelmingly support partnering with FinTech organizations as the route to achieve digitization of their service offerings and back office processes, with over 80% of consultation respondents indicating this is their preferred route. ABCUL has committed to supporting its members to effectively navigate the FinTech environment to take advantage of the huge opportunities available to enhance service delivery in highly cost-effective ways.
Preparing for future sustainability
As the leading trade body for credit unions across Great Britain, ABCUL provides a variety of support services to member credit unions across England, Scotland and Wales. A key driving force within Vision 2025 was the need for ABCUL to support members in areas of key concern, such as facilitating credit union mergers. In February 2021, ABCUL launched its Strategic Merger Taskforce – a discussion group set up to explore how strategic mergers could work to improve the sustainability of our member credit unions. The time is now to have open and honest conversations around the opportunities and challenges that may exist for mergers across the sector and how ABCUL and its member credit unions can lead the way in building a robust and cohesive environment. We respect and appreciate that mergers are simply one option of many to secure the future sustainability of a credit union, and we believe building a more deliberate Strategic Plan is long overdue in Great Britain.
Most recently, the Association was delighted to announce the launch of a variety of paid-for compliance service packages, tailored for the credit union sector that will provide our member credit unions with the knowledge, tools and checklists to enable them to implement a more robust compliance culture.
The compliance services have been designed specifically for our member credit unions with the aim of:
- Managing the regulatory burden and highlighting all relevant compliance risks and ensuring robust systems and controls are in place,
- Increasing the standard of compliance monitoring across the sector, and
- Making compliance services more accessible to all our member credit unions through ABCUL member-exclusive pricing and range of services available.
In addition to the compliance review reviews, there is an opportunity to register for a two-day online group compliance self-assessment course, as well as a compliance helpdesk service to help answer any compliance-related issues or provide guidance when required.
ABCUL remains wholly dedicated to the commitments made to improvements within the sector and fulfilling commitments made back in 2020. The time is right to harness the collective passion and energy and pursue the movement’s Vision for 2025.