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Former IFA joins credit union crusade

Alistair Wilkinson, manager of the Gwynedd and Anglesey branches of the North Wales Credit Union, said the movement was now harnessing innovative products and “methods of distribution”.

He said this was notably by increasing NWCU’s online presence, to overcome restrictions laid down in the Credit Unions Act of 1979 and a lack of awareness among the population.

Mr Wilkinson, who left financial advice eight years ago, has been at NWCU for four years.

He said although credit unions had a long way to go, the sector’s biggest credit unions were starting to benefit from “significant” investment from the department for work and pensions, providing access to enhanced IT and a more efficient, centralised system.

He added: “Credit Unions have a commitment to putting their members first. They have struggled to compete with banks, building societies and other co-operatives due to restrictions in the Credit Unions Act, but the sector is starting to develop a far wider range of products and services, and it is a very exciting time to be involved.”

Background

Hector Sants, the former chief executive of the disbanded FSA, is now heading up the taskforce aimed at establishing a network of credit unions in various churches throughout England. The taskforce was commissioned by Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, as a means of challenging payday lenders such as Wonga.