Bristol Credit Union launches first ever Social Impact report

The 2018-2019 report details how the Credit Union has provided social value to the region. 

  • Loans made to over 900 people who live in areas in the most deprived 20% in the country with £2million in interest saved for them
  • 277 people at risk of homelessness offered interest free loans for housing purposes
  • BCU scored highly on the wellbeing scorecard

Bristol Credit Union (BCU) have released their first ever Social Impact Report. The 2018-2019 report details how the Credit Union has provided social value to Bristol and the wider region during a year of growth and success.

Key achievements include 900 low cost loans made to people living in areas which fall within the most deprived 20% of the country, 277 people have avoided homelessness with interest-free loans, and 47 people have been helped through a refugee resettlement scheme. Furthermore, Bristol Credit Union has supported over 500 independent businesses, and 1,500 customers, through the Bristol Pound scheme whilst saving members over £2 million in interest when compared with other high cost loans.

Nearly two-thirds of BCU’s members have an annual household income of less than £30,000 with over a quarter residing in areas of Bristol that have some of the highest levels of deprivation in the UK. 2,800 members actively save which means the £4.8 million savings recirculate locally, supporting the city region economy. The low cost loans also benefit the area with more money staying local and being used directly supporting independent businesses and trades.

During the year, BCU extended its rent guarantee scheme with Bristol City Council and teamed up with England Illegal Money Lending team where new accounts received £10 bonus from loan sharks via Proceeds of Crime Act. Working at the heart of the community, the Credit Union has lent £65,000 to two local ventures - Bristol Energy Co-operative and South Bristol Sports Centre and sponsored the 2018 Bristol Children in Care awards. Over 15 local companies have signed up to BCU’s Money@work programme enabling their employees to borrow and save through their payroll.

Commenting on the report, James Berry, CEO of Bristol Credit Union said:

“Positive social impact is fundamental to our business. As the local bank, it is critical that money is used carefully and wisely to help all across the city region particularly those who struggle to make ends meet or need a roof over their heads. It’s an understatement to say I’m proud of what we have achieved so far. This first social impact report sets out a benchmark for us and others to grow from. 

And 2020 is proving that now more than ever we need to further improve equality and inclusion in our finance systems as well as improving resilience in our local economy.

In addition to BCU's efforts to combat financial hardships in 2018/2019 shown in the social impact report, the Credit Union has also implemented measures to tackle the recent impact of Covid-19. This includes zero interest loans for NHS workers and digital updates to limit the need for branch visits and ensure the safety of their members and staff.

Published by
Team BCU
Posted on
30 July 2020