Just another financial institution? Tensions in the future of credit unions in the United Kingdom

For some the association of credit unions with tackling financial exclusion has been seen as a source of growth while others argue that it threatens their sustainability. This paper argues for an approach in which the future credit union development in the UK is confined neither to tackling financial exclusion nor to an effort to attract a diversified membership. Rather, it proposes an approach based on progressive universalism in which unions offer services open to all while focusing additional help on those sidelined by mainstream financial services. This is illustrated with examples from Wales to show how credit unions can overcome the tension between tackling financial exclusion and achieving sustainability.

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