Why are Credit Unions in decline?

We hear a lot about credit unions: about how they serve the communities they are based in, about how they help consumers who wouldn’t be able to borrow anywhere else and about how they offer loans at lower interest rates than other types of finance. But credit unions – often hailed as the antidote to payday loans and other forms of sub-prime finance – are in decline. Figures released last year showed that while there were 835 credit unions operating in the UK in 2001, that number had fallen to just 523 in 2014. Find your local credit union. While some of that decline can be put down to consolidation in the market and the creation of very large credit unions designed to compete with the high street banks, it’s clear that this relatively young financial sector has not boomed in the way that many economic commentators had been expecting. Some analysts are now painting an even bleaker picture for credit unions. These institutions have two arms that support each other – savings


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