Lloyds agrees £4m plan for credit union grants

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Credit unions will be handed £4m as part of a four-year plan to be revealed by the Lloyds Banking Group tonight.

The cash injection was agreed with the bank earlier this year but it will announce full details of its growth plan at a Westminster reception to mark the 50th anniversary of the movement.

Under the plan credit unions will be able to apply for grants of between £50,000 and £100,000, which can be used to boost reserves and “help remove barriers to growth and innovation”.

Smaller unions will be able to apply for between £10,000 and £20,000 to help them make changes before being able to apply for a full award or to cover the costs of a merger.

The bank is also financing the pilot stage of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Church Credit Champions Network, which plans to train 300 people.

Sir Hector Sants, chair of the Archbishop’s task group on responsible saving and credit, said: “It is exactly this type of assistance that is needed to enable credit unions to fulfil their role in the community.”

In the last six months, in conjunction with the Leeds City credit union, Lloyds has piloted a project to encourage its staff to direct customers towards credit unions. It said some 2,000 customers have taken information which has encourage the bank to widen the project to up to 20 locations close to employment hubs.

It has also seconded two full-time staff to work on the Credit Union Expansion Project. Lloyds’ corporate affairs chief Matt Young said: “We want to enable as many people as possible to access  financial services. We see this as a key part of being a responsible business.”