Investment will help make purpose-driven finance more accessible
Today, 19 April, Great Western Credit Union, the biggest credit union in the South West, has launched their new Bond Offer to raise their initial target of £400,000 with Ethex, the ethical crowdfund platform. The intended investment allows the credit union to expand its services delivering fair, ethical and affordable financial products across the South West region, whilst providing financial stability for thousands and making purpose-driven finance more accessible. Investments start from £250 and there is a projected 6.5% return for investors, however, any money invested is fully at risk.*
The Bond Offer will help the credit union to safeguard its future, with Fair4All Finance offering to match investments up to a total of £1m. Investments will further allow GWCU to grow their membership via increased outreach to people across the region. Since its launch in 2020, GWCU has upgraded its digital platform to make ethical finance more widespread and with this investment, they will be able to increase capacities and offer face-to-face digital services. Also, the organisation’s Money@Work employer partnership scheme, which currently has 36 employers and over 40,000 employees benefiting from affordable finance direct from payroll, will be a key area of growth with new funding.
James Berry, CEO of Great Western Credit Union, said:
“On a national level, this is one of the most difficult economic periods we have witnessed in our 23-year history and we understand the current challenges facing so many. Our new Bond Offer allows us to go beyond our regular services and make ethical and affordable finance more accessible to tens of thousands more people in our region at a time when people need these solutions. By joining us, we can do even more good with our money and transform the lives of many people in our local communities.”
The credit union currently has over 18,000 members, takes care of more than £10m of members’ savings and manages over £8.6m worth of loans outstanding. GWCU serves people in Bristol, Bath, Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire and South Gloucestershire following recent mergers with Wyvern Savings and Loans in 2021 and Stroud Valleys Credit Union in 2022.
When members use GWCU’s services, money is reinvested into the local economy and the credit union has previously helped 2,250 people at risk of homelessness and a further 150 families through the UK Resettlement Scheme for refugees. Previously, GWCU has received large-scale investments from organisations such as Bristol City Council and The Joseph Rowntree Foundation. The credit union also recently secured investment from Fair4All Finance to grow their provision of affordable credit across the area and build a comprehensive growth strategy, resulting in a raise of £500,000 in 2022.
Holly Piper, Investment Director at Fair4All Finance, said:
“With 17.5m people in financially vulnerable circumstances across the UK, access to fair and affordable financial services is more important than ever. Great Western Credit Union is a well-run and ambitious credit union that provides vital support to people across the under-served South West region. We invested in GWCU last year to help them grow and we look forward to further supporting them to reach more customers through this Bond Offer.”
The Bond Offer will close on 18th July 2023, and investors are advised to read the Offer Document before investing. Find out more about the Offer here.
*Any money invested is fully at risk and is not protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.