Adult membership of credit unions in the UK has reached record levels, according to the latest annual figures from the Bank of England.
The latest data, which covers the 2021 financial year, shows that UK credit unions now serve over 2.1 million people and have assets of £4.4 billion.
Adult membership of UK credit unions climbed to the highest level on record, increasing 12.8% over five years, and the value of loans issued to members surpassed the pre-pandemic peak of £1.7 billion.
The new figures illustrate the continued growth of the credit union movement in recent years – since 2008, British credit union membership has increased from just over 650,000 members. In England alone, the data shows that credit unions now serve over 923,000 members, with almost £1.2 billion in savings and £750 million out on loan.
Total assets for credit unions across the UK increased by 9% in 2021, reaching their highest ever reported value at £4.34 billion. Credit union lending increased in every UK region, with the total value of loans rising by 7.4% in 2021 to 1.75 billion. Total relevant liabilities increased by 10% in 12 months to £3.3 billion.
Credit Union Chief Executive Martin Groombridge said: “The latest credit union figures show that credit unions are recovering strongly after the pandemic, with more members than ever recognising their benefits. As a safe home for savings and a source of affordable lending, credit unions play a vital role in our communities, providing much-needed financial services to people from all walks of life.”
In addition, figures published by the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) reflect this growth around the world. The most recent WOCCU statistics containing data from 2020 showed that 86,451 credit unions are serving over 375 million people in 118 countries. By comparison, in 2006 it was reported that 46,000 credit unions served approximately 172 million people across 97 countries.
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