May 2013

First Minister of Northern Ireland welcomes Credit Union report

12th July 2011

Collaboration is key to success for credit unions

New RUFI research launched today, reveals that credit unions must work together and in partnership with a wide range of public and private sector organisations in order to fulfil their potential and reach all those who need their help.

Community finance for London - scaling up the credit union and social finance sector, is a major new strategic piece of research which examines how to develop affordable financial services in Greater London. The report was developed by Paul A. Jones of the Research Unit for Financial Inclusion at Liverpool John Moores University with Anna Ellison of Policis, and was funded by Santander. It is designed as a blueprint for the credit union and social finance sector and it demonstrates the important role of credit unions in enhancing the social and economic cohesion of communities.

Speaking at the launch in the Houses of Parliament, Paul A Jones said: “The credit union sector needs to modernise and to achieve sufficient scale in order to offer affordable financial services to a wide range of households on low and modest incomes. However, it also needs to maintain the community finance ethos and vision that defines and differentiates it from the mainstream.

“The report explores the fit between the need for affordable financial services and the capacity of community finance in London. It investigates the nature of the challenges facing the sector in scaling up to meet demand and it reveals how credit unions are strengthening the social and economic cohesion of local neighbourhoods and communities.”

Rob Hailey, Senior Public Policy Manager at Santander UK plc, said: “We are delighted to support this important piece of research into the community finance sector. Though focused on London, many of its recommendations will be relevant for credit unions and others across the country. We hope it will contribute to the strengthening of the sector and ultimately to reducing financial exclusion.”

The report describes a vision of credit unions and social lenders working in partnership with central government, local authorities, social housing providers, money advice agencies and other locally-based organisations, to provide quality and competitive financial services at affordable rates whilst actively contributing to local social and economic development.

Credit union membership in London has grown by over 90 per cent since 2005. Now, everyone who lives or works in 27 out of the 33 London boroughs can join a credit union, and there are plans to expand into two more boroughs in the near future. However, despite this success, credit unions and the social finance sector in general, still lack the capacity and the reach to extend their services to the many more low and moderate income Londoners who could stand to benefit from access to affordable financial services.

Mark Lyonette, Chief Executive of ABCUL, said: “This timely report sets out a route map for the development of the credit union sector in Britain.

“Credit unions in this country are on the threshold of a major expansion, with new legislation in the coming months freeing up the sector to serve more people with a wider range of services. However, as this study shows, for credit unions to really fulfil their potential and reach all those in need of their help they must work together and with other agencies to achieve the scale and quality of services required.”

The study was funded by Santander as part of its work to support the community finance sector. The bank is also providing a £100,000 investment into a new credit assessment system for credit unions, being planned by the Association of British Credit Unions Ltd in partnership with Experian. The new system will play an important part in the development of credit union back office services in Britain.

July 2010

Promoting Financial Inclusion Course to run again in September

Undergraduate level 3 and Postgraduate level M

In Liverpool and Stockton-on-Tees, autumn 2010

A University qualification at undergraduate or post-graduate levels

This course is designed for people working, paid or voluntary, in agencies and organisations concerned with financial inclusion or financial education in low-income communities. It leads to the award of a University Certificate in Professional Development (CPD - either at undergraduate (level 3) or post-graduate level (level M))

This academic programme of studies aims to deepen understanding of poverty, over-indebtedness and financial exclusion, and of the dynamics of financial capability education. It will explore Government policy, and the role of the financial services industry and of the community and voluntary sector in tackling financial exclusion. It will investigate how partnership approaches can, and do, work in practice. It has a particular focus on the role of social housing providers, local authorities, credit unions and money advice agencies.

The course is offered in two locations – in Liverpool (starts September, 2010) and also in Thornaby, Stockton-upon-Tees (starts October, 2010). Teaching will be fortnightly over 5 full days. An optional sixth day will be arranged for tutorials. All Fridays. 9.30 a.m. – 3.30 p.m.

In Liverpool, the days are Sept. 24th, Oct. 8th, 22nd, and November 5th and 9th.

In Thornaby, the days are Oct. 1st, 15th, 29st and November 12th and 26th.

These days will be complemented by e-learning, private study and optional tutorials.

Application forms available shortly.

Course fee - £345 (level 3 or level M) (includes membership of the university with all facilities for one semester).


Directors, staff members and volunteers engaged in credit unions delivering the Financial Inclusion Growth Fund can apply to have their course fee paid in full from the Delta Training Programme. This applies to all credit unions not just ABCUL members. Further information from ABCUL, Manchester or from Paul A Jones.

Further information also available from Paul A Jones,

Research Unit for Financial Inclusion,
Faculty of Health and Applied Social Sciences
Liverpool John Moores University
Telephone +44 (0)7939 566552 (Mobile)

This CPD was developed with the support of The Co-operative Bank.

March 2010

The Northern Money Conference

Helen Goodman MP, Minister for Financial Inclusion at the Department for Work and Pensions, and Mark Hoban MP,  Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury, travelled to Liverpool’s Contemporary Urban Centre, to address delegates at the Northern Money Conference on 1 March 2010.

Supported by The Co-operative Bank and organised by the Research Unit for Financial Inclusion in the Faculty of Health and Applied Social Sciences in partnership with the Association of British Credit Unions and Citizens Advice, the event was attended by over 250 delegates from a wide range of organisations including local authorities, consumer bodies, housing providers, money advice agencies and credit unions. 
Helen Goodman MP started her keynote speech by congratulating delegates on their work to tackle financial exclusion.  Enterprise Credit Union in Huyton, which was running a workshop at the conference, came in for particular praise from the Minister. She recounted the story of just one Growth Fund recipient, who had previously repaid over £2,500 to high cost lenders. A Growth Fund loan from Enterprise Credit Union meant this individual could build up enough savings so that last year, for the first time, she didn’t have to borrow for Christmas.

Mark Hoban MP  told delegates how financial inclusion had been a thread running through his work since he became a Shadow Treasury Minister in December 2005.  He spoke about how the focus has changed during this time and how the financial crisis has now focused attention on a sustainable approach to debt and an increased focus on savings. Mark said we were paying the price for a ‘spend now, pay later’ society and needed to shift to one based on savings – for Government, business and consumers.

Empowering people to make better choices is key to making sure people think through the implications of debt, explained Mark Hoban. He went on to confirm that a future Conservative Government would support the roll out of the Moneymadeclear money guidance programme. As well as better access to information about credit and savings, and more transparency on credit agreements, he spoke about how behavioural economics can play a role in encouraging people to save. 

Paul A Jones from Faculty’s Research Unit for Financial Inclusion chaired the panel discussion, which included Mark Hoban MP, Teresa Perchard, Director of Policy at Citizens Advice, Sophia Parker, Acting Director of the Resolution Foundation, and ABCUL Chief Executive Mark Lyonette.  Business Leader in Corporate Communications at Co-operative Financial Services, Graham Leftwich, had earlier welcomed delegates to the conference. 

After presentations from the panellists, delegates were invited to raise issues from the floor. A number of topics were discussed including local authority support for financial inclusion, interest rate caps, tax credits and personal responsibility. Workshops in the afternoon allowed delegates to focus on a range of issues including the future of credit unions, money guidance, the role of local authorities and housing associations, and encouraging savings.

The Northern Money Conference
Left to right
Mark Lyonette.  CEO, Association of British Credit Unions, Mark Hoban MP, Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Paul A Jones from Faculty’s Research Unit for Financial Inclusion (Chair), Teresa Perchard, Director of Policy at Citizens Advice, Sophia Parker, Acting Director of the Resolution Foundation,

Nov 08

The Northern Financial Inclusion Conference 2008

The Research Unit for Financial Inclusion (RUFI), based in the Faculty of Health and Applied Social Sciences at LJMU, joined forces with the Association of British Credit Unions (ABCUL) to hold its 3rd Financial Inclusion Conference at the BT Convention Centre, Liverpool on Thursday 4th December 2008. The event was supported and sponsored by The Co-operative Bank.

This major conference, the largest financial inclusion conference in the UK, was addressed by Kitty Usher, Parliamentary Under Secretary at the Department of Work and Pensions and by leading players in the field of financial inclusion. These included four members of HM Treasury’s Financial Inclusion Task Force: David Anderson, Chief Executive of Co-operative Financial Services; Mark Lyonette, Chief Executive, Association of British Credit Unions Ltd; Danielle Walker-Palmour, Director, Friends Provident Charitable Foundation; and Bala Mahendran, Chief Executive of Basildon District Council.  Nearly 300 delegates attended the conference representing policy makers, academics and practitioners throughout the UK and Ireland. 

The conference marked ten years of the promotion of financial inclusion in low-income communities. With the publication of the Social Inclusion Unit’s national strategy for neighbourhood renewal, 1998 marked a turning point in the way Government, banks, credit unions, as well as statutory and voluntary agencies began to understand lack of access to financial services as a critical factor behind persistent income inequality and economic disadvantage. From then onwards, financial inclusion became regarded as fundamental to tackling poverty and to the economic growth of communities.

From left to right: Paul A. Jones - Faculty of Health and Applied Social Sciences, Research Unit for Financial Inclusion, LJMU Mark Lyonette, Chief Executive, Association of British Credit Unions (ABCUL) Danielle Walker-Palmour, Director, Friends Provident Charitable Foundation Howard Gannaway, Research Fellow in Financial Inclusion Education, NIACE (National Institute of Adult Continuing EducationIn the same year, the interim findings of the LJMU report, “Towards Sustainable Credit Union Development” (Jones 1998) were published by ABCUL with the support of The Co-operative Bank. This ground-breaking study stimulated a major transformation in the organisational development of the British credit union movement, resulting in the membership of British credit unions tripling and their national loan portfolio quadrupling over the last 10 years. At the 2008 conference, the interim findings of a new LJMU report,’ Breaking through to the future’, on the scope and impact of credit union change since 1998 report were made public. This new report, after a period of consultation on the findings, is to be published early in 2009. It identifies the major strategic issues and objectives that credit unions are likely to face in the next 10 year period.

As with credit unions, the conference reflected on a range of policy initiatives, emanating from Westminster, Edinburgh and Cardiff, which have aimed to promote financial inclusion in low income communities. The past decade has seen the introduction of basic bank accounts, a focus on the provision of affordable credit, the Savings Gateway, the Child Trust Fund, an increase in insurance with rent schemes, an expansion of money and debt advice in low income communities, the Financial Inclusion Fund, a new Government financial capability strategy, the recent money guidance pathfinder programme and the arrival of Financial Inclusion Champions. In reflecting on the past and on what has already been achieved, the conference aimed to identify new strategic issues and measures for the future.

Another important research report was launched at the conference, ‘Banking of a fresh start; a research study into the impact of The Co-operative Bank’s project to enable prisoners to open basic bank accounts in HMP Forest Bank’. This report, by LJMU's Paul A Jones, explores a pioneering project which enables offenders to open a Co-operative Bank account while in prison and which appears to be having an impact on the rate of re-offending. The report shows that in the first two years of the project, which began at Forest Bank, Salford, in 2006, 256 prisoners had opened accounts while serving their sentences. Of those 193 have been released and only 72 have since returned to prison. These early results suggest that opening a bank account can positively impact on re-offending rates. The Co-operative Bank has now accepted applications from 28 other prisons bringing the total of accounts opened, since the scheme began, to 1,392.

Paul A. Jones said: "Bank accounts are not the panacea for reducing re-offending rates but the scheme at Forest Bank has important lessons for everyone involved in the prison service.

"It is clear that bank accounts are an important element in enabling ex-prisoners to become valuable members of society and other banks should now consider copying the excellent pioneering work carried out by the Co-operative Bank."

As one former inmate told the researchers "It seems superficial doesn't it just to say the most important reason for me is that I can be like anybody else."

Another ex-offender said: "It is hard to explain, I felt better when I got the bank account, you've got something, I felt better inside. I can't wait to get my wages paid in."

The report urges other banks to follow the lead set by the Co-operative, but it also recognises that the issue needs a society-wide responsibility in which prisons, banks, National Offender Management Service (NOMS), Government, the voluntary sector and others all have a role to play.  In all the report makes 24 recommendations designed to make access to bank accounts an important element of the rehabilitation process.
The Chief Executive of The Co-operative Bank David Anderson said:

"We understand that access to employment and housing are extremely important factors in reducing the risk of re-offending but these can only be obtained if ex-offenders have bank accounts. The Co-operative Bank now has a relationship with 29 prisons, which represents nearly 20 per cent of all the prisons in the UK but we cannot tackle this important issue alone. Therefore, I would encourage other banks to play their part in providing accounts for prisoners so all inmates can have this opportunity."

Since the conference, the findings of the report informed a major round table meeting, organised by the British Bankers Association in association with UNLOCK, the National Association of Reformed Offenders, at the House of Lords on 16th December 2008.

May 08


Thursday 8th May - Click here for the report

Following the Government’s renewed commitment to tackling financial exclusion, new RUFI research funded by the Friends Provident Foundation was launched at a conference at Barclays, Canary Wharf, chaired by Brian Pomeroy, Chair of HM Treasury Financial Inclusion Task Force. Speakers at the launch event included Gary Hoffman, Vice Chairman, Barclays; Brian Sweetland, Chair of the Friends Provident Foundation; Peter Kelly, Head of Financial Inclusion, Barclays; Joanna Elson, Chief Executive, Money Advice Trust; and Mark Lyonette, CEO of the Association of British Credit Unions.

The report was presented by Paul A Jones, Research Unit for Financial Inclusion, Faculty of Health and Applied Social Studies, followed by presentations by Kathy Wade, Blackfriars Advice Centre, London, and Claire Brady from the ABCUL/Citizens Advice CONNECT Project.  Over hundred delegates attended the event from Government, financial  institutions, and the money advice and credit unions sectors.

The research study examines the effectiveness of credit unions and money advice providers working together. It explores an initiative funded through the Barclays Financial Inclusion Fund that linked the services of Blackfriars Advice Centre, Southwark Credit Union and Twinpier Debt Management Agency in a joint effort to provide overindebted and financially excluded people with access to affordable financial services and money/debt advice. In its year of operation, the project was able to serve over 150 people with credit union and money advice services.

Key conclusions of the research include:-
- Linking credit unions and money advice is an innovative area of financial inclusion policy  and practice
- Referrals from credit union to advice agency and vice versa raise complex and challenging issues for staff in both types of organisation, but  they are at the heart of successful partnership work aimed at tackling overindebtedness and financial exclusion
- Money/debt advice, together with access to affordable financial services, needs to be linked to money guidance, financial capability work, and income maximisation measures
- Existing “siloed” financial inclusion funding streams do not always promote effective partnership working.

“Ms N, a woman in her 30s approached the credit union debt support worker with a credit card debt problem amounting to over £14k. She was referred for an interview at the advice centre where the adviser worked with her on a personal financial statement. Together they examined and analysed options and eventually came up with a strategy that enabled Ms. N to take control of her own affairs. Ms N continues to save and borrow in the credit union, and claims that the support offered by BAC, together with the access to credit union services, has afforded her the financial stability she longed for. She started a second job to clear the outstanding credit card debts more quickly”. (Extract from report case study)

Paul Jones commented, “The driver for this project was to develop a joined-up, holistic approach to tackling overindebtedness and financial exclusion in order to create a new understanding between the credit union and money advice sectors”. He continues, “Collaborative working adds value to credit union service delivery, affords greater rewards for money and debt advisers, and offers the opportunity of greater long-term financial stability to clients.”
Danielle Walker Palmour (Director of Friends Provident Foundation) stated, “Funders and other supporters of non-profits are constantly urging partnership working. This project got under the skin of one such arrangement to provide real insights into the challenges and benefits of working in this way. A client focused approach by agencies is key to future success.”

Jim Fearnley (Head of Research and Policy at the Money Advice Trust) stated, “Credit unions and money advice agencies often work with clients who are at risk of or are experiencing unmanageable debt. This report’s findings demonstrate that although both organisations share a commitment to promoting financial inclusion, they have distinct attitudes to credit, debt and borrowing.”

Joanna Elson, chief executive of Money Advice Trust, said, “We are delighted to be involved in promoting the findings from this innovative partnership, which we hope will assist the further development of joint initiatives such as the CAB/credit union CONNECT projects supported by Barclays. We hope that this research will contribute to the ongoing debate about the added value of linking money advice and credit union services, and how complementary approaches can enhance financial inclusion.” 
Jenna Eastlake, Senior Financial Inclusion Manager at Barclays said, "We are delighted to be hosting this conference as part of our support and commitment to tackling financial exclusion through partnership working. To truly make a difference and enable better access and understanding of financial services, national and local organisations need to work together to share learning and create holistic solutions."

The report “Linking Credit Unions and Money Advice” has been written by Paul Jones, RUFI, and published by Liverpool John Moore’s University. A copy is available at the following links and 
A podcast of the conference will be available on the Money Advice Trust website.

Nov 07

Clink for Southwark Credit Union Report - 15th Novermber 2007.


The Rt. Hon Harriet Harman QC MP launches on 15th November 2007 in the House of Commons a new RUFI research report into the development of Southwark Credit Union Ltd., London, over the last 25 years. Written by the Research Unit for Financial Inclusion at Liverpool John Moores University the report explores the growth and transformation of Southwark Credit Union since it was established for the council workforce in 1982.
Southwark Credit Union is one of the leading credit unions in the country. It opened it doors to the entire community in 1999 and now serves over 7,000 members in the London Borough of Southwark. It takes a lead in the delivery of financial services to people on low incomes and who otherwise face financial exclusion. In 2006, Southwark Credit Union was the first credit union in the country to sign the Department of Work and Pensions contract to deliver the Financial Inclusion Fund Growth Fund loans.
James Plaskett MP, Parliamentary under Secretary of State said of Southwark Credit Union, “Working with my Department through the Growth Fund, your staff have made over 2,000 loans totalling over £1.2 million. This has saved at least £600,000 in interest charges for your financially excluded customers compared to the cost of borrowing from a high cost doorstep lender”.

The research report highlights how Southwark Credit Union, established by a small group of volunteers, had to learn some hard lessons about good governance, financial management, sound decision making and of product development in order to succeed and to become the sound financial institution it is today.  Supporting the scaling up of credit unions is central to the Government’s strategic plan to tackle financial exclusion (HM Treasury. Financial Inclusion: The Way Forward March 2007).  In researching the history and development of Southwark Credit Union, the aim is to enable credit unions throughout the country to learn from Southwark’s experience and develop and safe and sound financial institutions.

Writing in the foreword to the report, Harriet Harman QC MP said, “Growing and establishing the credit union as a quality organisation has not been easy. Over the years, there have been many challenges, set backs and hurdles to surmount. But in each decade, committed volunteers and staff members have worked tirelessly to make sure the credit union succeeded and went forward”.

At a time when consumer debt is currently at an all time high, the authors of the report are reassured to discover that credit unions, such as Southwark, are committed to offering people on low incomes a pathway to financial inclusion. 
This new report, The Development of Southwark Credit Union 1982 – 2007, written by Paul A Jones and O. Sallyanne Decker of the Liverpool John Moores University and supported by Barclays expands the understanding of effective credit union management.
Jenna Eastlake, Senior Financial Inclusion Manager at Barclays stressed, “Barclays is committed to tackling financial exclusion and recognises that credit unions have an important role to play in creating a more inclusive financial system. However, if credit unions are to make a real impact, the sector needs to work together to continue to grow in strength and professionalism. It is important that credit unions learn from one another, which is the reason why Barclays has supported this research into the history and development of Southwark Credit Union. It provides some true insights into the challenges Southwark Credit Union has faced in becoming a quality and professional organisation”.

Ken Livingston, Mayor of London wrote to mark the 25th anniversary and the launch of the report, “I would like to congratulate the credit union for their work over the past 25 years and the benefits they have brought to the people of Southwark. I wish them every success for many more years to come."

Sept 07

Financial Inclusion Conference - 28th November 2007
The 2007 Financial Inclusion Conference finalised with a focus on capability, capacity and co-operation - promoting financial inclusion through building financial capability in low income communities and increasing the capacity of third sector financial providers to deliver the products and services people need and want. The conference is supported by Co-operative Financial Services

New academic programme for people working with low-income communities
Certificate of Professional Development (CPD)
Promoting Financial Inclusion in Low Income Communities
A new CPD academic programme is validated by Liverpool John Moores University in Promoting Financial Inclusion in Low Income Communities. This programme is designed for regeneration workers, youth and community workers, social workers, housing officers, probation officers, money advisers, and anyone engaged with young people and adults in low income communities.
The CPD aims to enable students to critique and analyse the links between poverty, over-indebtedness and financial exclusion and focuses on investigating practical and strategic solutions to promoting financial inclusion in low income communities. It aims to enable students to develop strategic inter-agency partnership approaches to tackling financial exclusion. 
The CPD is available at both under-graduate and post-graduate levels. Teaching time is 5 full days between January and May 2008
This CPD is supported by Co-operative Financial Services which is offering bursaries of a 50% contribution to course fees. These are available to people who can demonstrate the potential contribution of learning on the CPD to their work in low-income communities.
Full course fees. Post-graduate: £239.00. Undergraduate: £230.40 (as of June 07 – to be confirmed) (50% bursaries available from CFS)

August 07

National Youth Agency
National Youth Agency to participate in RUFI’s Financial Inclusion Conference in Liverpool.  Bethia McNeil, Senior Development Officer, The NIACE/NYA Young Adults Learning Partnership, The National Youth Agency, together with Linda Jack, Youth Officer at the Financial Services Authority, will conduct at workshop on young people and financial inclusion at the conference.

July 07

Dr Sallyanne Decker
Dr Sallyanne Decker joins RUFI.  Sallyanne is a senior lecturer at London Metropolitan University, where she teaches and researches financial services and microeconomic theory. She will be based in London and will contribute to the Southwark Credit Union research project and other RUFI research projects in the South-West.

DWP Credit Union and CDFI Training and Development Needs Analysis
In March 2007, the Government announced that it was concerned to increase the coverage and capacity of third sector lenders so that financially excluded people nationwide would have access to a source of affordable credit.  In order to support the strategic development of credit unions and community development finance institutions (CDFIs) delivering the Financial Inclusion Growth Fund, both currently and in the future, the Department of Work and Pensions commissioned a Credit Union and CDFI Training and Development Needs Analysis. This has now been published and can be found in the credit union section of the website.
The research team was led by the Association of British Credit Unions Ltd (ABCUL) in collaboration with the Community Development Finance Association Ltd (cdfa) and the Research Unit for Financial Inclusion at Liverpool John Moores University. Small Change (N.I.) Ltd. acted for the cdfa. The research took place from the mid-March to May 2007.

June 07

Research into bank accounts for prisoners at HMP Forest Bank, Salford.
In order to combat financial exclusion, and support strategies to reduce re-offending, the Co-operative Bank has pioneered a new and innovative project at HM Prison Forest Bank, Salford, which enables prisoners to open basic bank accounts prior to release from prison. RUFI is engaged to research the impact and effectiveness of The Co-operative Bank basic bank account project at HM Prison Forest Bank.  This research is funded by Co-operative Financial Services. See current projects.

May 07

Southwark Credit Union Ltd – research into 25 years of development and growth.
For 25 years, Southwark Credit Union Ltd has served its members in the London Borough of Southwark. Over that period, it has undergone a process of change and development to offer quality financial services, particularly within low-income communities.  RUFI is researching the development of Southwark Credit Union over time with the aim of generating findings about the processes that enable a credit union to become an effective financial institution. See current projects.

April 07

RUFI Workshop - Financial Inclusion and Young People
Friday 27th April 07 (Full Day)
Liverpool John Moores University
This seminar led by Paul Jones, aims to deepen participants’ understanding of poverty, over-indebtedness and financial exclusion in low income communities. It explores a range of policy and other initiatives within Government, the financial services industry and the community and voluntary sectors aimed at promoting financial inclusion. It focuses on identifying financial issues as they relate to young people in low income communities and on practical measures aimed at developing their financial capability and awareness.

Workshop fee - £75 including all refreshments

Further information and booking form from:- 

Kate Hawtin
School of Applied Social and Community Studies
Liverpool John Moores University
3rd Floor, Kingsway House
Hatton Garden
L69 3YP
0151 231 4420

March 07

Association of British Credit Unions Ltd (ABCUL) – Annual Conference
Hilton Hotel, Blackpool, Saturday 17th March 2007

Doorstep lending - a research project. Building a business case for credit unions to offer doorstep lending

ABCUL is working with the Personal Finance Research Centre, National Consumer Council and RUFI,  Liverpool John Moores University, to explore developing a not for profit doorstep lending service. The feasibility project is being funded by Joseph Rowntree Foundation. This workshop, led by Paul Jones, will look at what the project is about, progress to date and invite the thoughts of participants on how this service might be constructed if delivered by credit unions.

Financial Inclusion Partnerships

Over the last two years The Association of British Credit Unions Ltd (ABCUL) and Citizens Advice have been exploring ways of working together to add value to the Government’s investment in money advice and affordable credit.

Citizens Advice and ABCUL have now joined forces to launch a new Financial Inclusion Partnership Project. The aim of the project is to assist Citizens Advice Bureaux and ABCUL credit Unions to develop local partnerships

The aim of these local partnerships is to assist Bureaux and Credit Unions provide better and more joined up services to the financially excluded and vulnerable groups in their local area. At a national level the project aims to develop a framework for a joined up ‘Money Advice Plus’ service.

RUFI is a member of the Advisory Board of the Project

Further information from Claire Brady , Project Manager –  ABCUL/Citizens Advice – Citizens Advice, London – Tel: 020 7833 7148  Mob: 07960 516 363

January 07

  • Financial Skills Training at HM Liverpool – The RUFI research report of this North Liverpool Citizens Advice Bureaux project, funded through the Basic Skills Agency, is now published.  The report is available in the Financial Capability section of this site.
  • Credit Union current account charging structures -  New research into charges on credit union current accounts has just been commissioned by The Association of British Credit Unions Ltd with the financial support of the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation.  See the current projects section.
  • Enterprise in Disadvantaged Communities - A Research Report into a Neighbourhood Renewal Fund Project in South Tyneside.  Launch of the research at Bede’s World, Church Bank. Jarrow, Tyne & Wear on Friday 26th January 2007.  Keynote presentation by Doug Scott, CEO – TEDCO and Paul A Jones and Simon Rahilly, RUFI.  For further information about the day contact the marketing department at TEDCO on: 0191 428 3371 or e-mail  For a copy of the report, see the Evaluative Research section.
  • Not-for-profit doorstep lending - building a business case.  Doorstep lending is an established source of credit that is used by large numbers of low income customers. However, commercial home credit options are very expensive and repayments are often a drain on the finances of low income households. This project is to explore the business possibility of a not Not-for-profit doorstep lending service operated by credit unions or community development finance initiatives.  It is a joint research project led by the Personal Finance Research Institute at Bristol University and involving the Association of British Credit Unions, National Consumer Council, Policis, and RUFI at LJMU as partners. It is funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.  See the current projects section.
  • Financial Capability Steering Group, Citizens Advice -   Paul A Jones has been invited to participate in the Citizens Advice Financial Capability Steering Group. This group will overview, explore and analyse issues involved in the financial capability programmes operated by Citizens Advice Bureau throughout the country.



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