Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you all so much for coming from far and wide to Clarence House today to celebrate International Credit Union Day. As many people will verify I am no Financial Wizard, but it doesn’t take a money expert (and we have plenty of those here today!) to recognise that Credit Unions can offer a common-sense basic banking service to so many people.
Credit Unions serve people, not profit. They provide a friendly financial community where members mutually benefit from advice, as well as savings accounts and loans. And in case this all sounds too casual, remember that money saved with them has the same Government protection as bank savings accounts.
'Friendly' and 'mutual' these old-fashioned financial terms might ring a bell with those of us with long memories! I believe Credit Unions can change the way we talk and think about savings and loans. They can encourage those who have the means to save, and bring in from the cold those vulnerable people who struggle to qualify for loans.
I opened a Credit Union account with my local branch last year. The simple fact being that if more of us support them by opening savings accounts, they will be able to offer more loans to those who really need them. And as people discover how well they work for all their members, the word will spread and the momentum will grow...
On this, International Credit Union Day, I hope that it will be useful to come together under one umbrella to share your different experiences and expertise. I do believe that Credit Unions could be a real force for change in the financial landscape and are truly a cause worth championing!