Last week in Parliament, Robin Walker, MP for Worcester and Chair of the Credit Unions APPG helped to launch a new credit union service for the Armed Forces – Joining Forces.

The Ministry of Defence has made it possible for three of the UK’s leading credit unions to join forces to make savings and loans available to the Armed Forces and their families. The arrangement means that Armed Forces personnel will be able to save regularly or repay loans with a credit union via payroll deduction. Family members and retired personnel in receipt of a pension are also eligible to join.

Over the years, Armed Forces personnel have reported difficulties accessing credit because their job involves moving regularly and it can be challenging to build a good credit rating. For this reason, some personnel have reported being actively targeted by high cost lenders. Three credit unions: Plane Saver Credit Union, Police Credit Union and London Mutual Credit Union – have been selected to offer this service to Forces personnel.

Minister for Defence Personnel and Veterans Mark Lancaster MP said:

“I’m delighted that credit union services will today be available to Armed Forces personnel. It is crucial that those service people who work so hard to keep Britain safe, both at home and abroad, can access easy and affordable ways to save and borrow.”

Robin said:

“As Chairman of the All Party Group for credit unions I am delighted that this milestone has been achieved. Our group pressed for this in a cross party campaign and it is wonderful that our brave service personnel and their families will now have access to the secure savings and affordable credit that credit unions can offer. I hope veterans and their families living in Worcester will check out all that Joining Forces have to offer.”

One of the first people to join a credit union under the new arrangement is Lance Sergeant Johnson Beharry VC. Lance Sergeant Beharry – who became the first living recipient of the Victoria Cross since 1969 for saving the lives of his comrades in Iraq – has joined London Mutual Credit Union.

Last week was a significant week for the Credit Unions APPG as 15th October was International Credit Union Day. Credit unions and supportive organisations joined Peers and Members of Parliament for a reception to mark the occasion at the Palace of Westminster.

Hosted by Robin himself, the event heard from Bob Annibale, Global Director, Community Development and Inclusive Finance at Citi, who sponsored the reception and are supporting the work of the Credit Union Foundation. Guests were also addressed by Karen Bennett, Chief Executive of Enterprise Credit Union, who spoke about what she learned from the US credit union sector as part of a Citi-sponsored delegation to Detroit in May 2014.

The reception then heard from Pablo DeFilippi, Vice President Membership and Business Development at the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions who spoke about the evolving story of credit unions in the USA, the need for co-operation among credit unions, and the opportunities that exist to deliver services to people from all walks of life, including those with limited financial choices.

Notes to Editors:

Credit unions in England, Scotland and Wales now serve 1.2 million people, including 128,000 junior savers. Members are saving over £1 billion and borrowing £700 million.

For more information about ABCUL and credit unions in Parliament:

For more information about the Armed Forces credit union:

For more information about the Credit Union Foundation:

To read Robin’s previous releases on this issue: