PCCU was recently invited to attend a conference held in Florida which welcomed the largest collection of community development credit unions in the United States of America.
After presenting at ABCUL’s Manchester conference in March, David, PCCU’s marketing and development officer, was invited to the US conference to participate in a session explaining how Pennine had used digital technology and social media platforms to communicate with the community about the ethical savings and affordable loans we provide, whilst keeping existing account holders updated with the progress that PCCU is making.
David was part of a delegation that included Kieran Hughes of Enterprise Credit Union, Dr Robbie Mochrie of First Scottish University Credit Union, Olivia Sharman of Transave Credit Union and Matt Bland from ABCUL who co-ordinated the trip
It was another great experience to attend the conference and it was a privilege to present to our American colleagues giving a perspective of the UK credit union sector.
The conference included a number of session which introduced initiatives which had benefited credit union account holders and the wider communities in the US
One of the key messages we heard was regarding inclusion. Over the past 36 years PCCU has strived to make our savings and loan accounts available to the whole community. The conference highlighted how important the work we do is, especially for people who are underserved by high street financial organisation such as the banks. By offering safe savings accounts and access to affordable loans we aim to improve peoples’ financial capability, helping them to manage their money and build up a history of good money management.
The visitors from the UK joined delegates from the Puerto Rican credit union and co-operative movement to visit Florida based credit unions of different sizes. Manatee Community Federal Credit Union, GTE Financial and Suncoast Credit Union, where all three served similar communities to Burnley and Pendle. David described how impressed he was with the inspiring experience
Although all three credit unions dwarfed PCCU in financial terms, some holding assets approaching $10billion dollars in comparison to PCCU’s modest £6 million, the commitment to serve their communities was exactly the same as the UK credit unions. The branches were placed in the community, like PCCU’s newest St James’s Street branch in Burnley, advanced technology in branch allowed account holders the choice of interacting with members of staff, using unmanned Interactive Teller Machines (ITM) or to complete transaction from the comfort of their car in a drive-thru.
Pablo DeFilippi, Senior Vice President of Membership & Network Engagement at Inclusiv, spent a lot of time with the UK delegates and agreed that sharing knowledge with the UK credit union was important as we both faced similar challenges
It’s been great to continue our partnership with ABCUL and the UK credit union sector. We hope to be able to build on this partnership in the coming years to the benefit of underserved people in both the UK & US. We look forward to continue these exchanges that are so valuable for our respective movements.
The UK credit union movement is fortunate to have the support of the Citi Foundation, who support many credit union initiatives, including the CU Futures programme, in which two members of staff from PCCU have successfully completed. Matt Bland, Head of Policy & Communications at ABCUL, thanked Citi and outlined the importance of their support
The biggest benefit of our ongoing partnership with Inclusiv is building great connections with and learning from our colleagues across the Atlantic. As always we are hugely grateful to Citi for the generous support that allows this knowledge exchange to happen.
When David returned he explained how inspiring the experience had been
To see the scale of the American credit union, who provide very similar services to PCCU, made all of us visiting UK credit union delegates motivated to continue to grow and replicate the amazing US movement. I believe the partnerships formed between the US and UK credit unions will be beneficial for our progress.