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Austerity, Community Action, and the Future of Citizenship$
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Shana Cohen, Christina Fuhr, and Jan-Jonathan Bock

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781447331032

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781447331032.001.0001

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Community finance: the emergence of credit unions in London

Community finance: the emergence of credit unions in London

Chapter:
(p.95) Six Community finance: the emergence of credit unions in London
Source:
Austerity, Community Action, and the Future of Citizenship
Author(s):

Paul A Jones

Michelle Howlin

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781447331032.003.0006

Inspired by a strong sense of social mission, credit unions in London, as elsewhere in Great Britain, have a long commitment to serving people on low-incomes. Recognised by the UK Government as key players in providing financial services to those marginalised by mainstream financial providers, credit unions have received significant political support and public financial investment to expand their services in low-income communities. This has been particularly important in times of austerity and hardship and of change to the welfare benefits systems. This chapter focuses on the historic development of credit unions in London, and explores how they have endeavoured to resolve the tension inherent in remaining true to their social and co-operative values and at the same time in ensuring their economic stability and independence. It discusses the background of credit unions in the capital, the challenges they have faced over the years and how they are endeavouring to reform as professional financial co-operatives serving a wide and diverse membership. East London Credit Union (ELCU) was founded by local volunteers inspired and motivated by their Christian faith to make a difference in the local community. The chapter reflects on ELCU’s mission and social commitment to assist people through hard times and the way in which has endeavoured to tackle austerity through business success.

Keywords:   Credit unions, financial inclusion, volunteering, cooperative values, community finance

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