Funding of over £1.2m is being given to national and local schemes which include a publicity campaign, money management education and the development of financial services.
The announcement follows credit unions being challenged to provide additional financial services and products to meet the needs of customers. Schemes receiving Welsh Government funding will increase awareness of credit union and increase membership.
Funding is being allocated to 19 projects, seven of which are national schemes which include:
- North Wales Credit Union will spend £679,000 managing a national marketing campaign to increase credit union membership across the country by 2,000 above expected growth.
- Cardiff Credit Union is to receive £110,000 to develop its website and improve online access. Changes will include enabling members and those wishing to join to apply for loans online and have better access to their accounts.
- Merthyr Tydfil Credit Union is receiving £50,000 to train two people to provide financial education courses to 500 secondary school children and recruit 300 junior credit union members.
The Minister said:
"Credit unions provide access to affordable borrowing and can be especially suitable for people who have had credit issues in the past and find themselves unable to borrow from the mainstream lenders. They directly support the Welsh Government's efforts to tackle poverty. In recognition of this, we have been funding the movement to develop into a financially viable and sustainable network since 2010.
"I want to see Credit Unions offering a range of services that, as well as attracting middle income earners, assist those on low incomes and in need of financial help and guidance. For example, I want to see Credit Unions in Wales working towards providing a range of services such as accessible loans, encouraging savings and providing a universal offer of budgeting accounts aimed at helping people cope with new housing benefits arrangements.
"This announcement will support 19 projects boost growth and sustainability. This funding is a clear indication that the Welsh Government is prepared to invest resources to help credit unions continue to work with our most vulnerable."
Welsh Government funding for credit unions has supported the increase in membership to approximately 73,000 members. The target now is for the number of people using credit unions to increase to of 6% of the population by 2020.