Empower Your Financial Future: International Credit Union Day 2022

empower your financial future with credit union

BDCU is a leader in international webinars and financial inclusion projects, and to celebrate ‘International Credit Union Day 2022’, they partnered with Bradford Council Public Health to host a webinar with Zoom technical support given by ABCUL (Association of British Credit Unions Ltd).

The international theme this year was ‘Empower Your Financial Future with a Credit Union’ and the webinar had a range of local, national, and international speakers to discuss the ‘Cost of Living Crisis’ engulfing our nation.

View the recording of the ‘International Credit Union Day 2022’ webinar here.

264 people booked on. This was made up of local and national delegates. Including, 43 Credit Unions, several US, Irish, and some non-affiliated credit unions as well as UK local councils. We also had voluntary international organisations and visitors and along with local organisations from Bradford, Kirklees, and Craven attending.

The webinar started off with a warm welcome from the Lord Mayor of Bradford, Cllr Martin Love, and Leader of the Bradford Council, Cllr Susan Hinchliffe. They both thanked BDCU for how much they have done for residents and for tackling poverty in the district.

Empower Your Financial Future: Tackling the Cost of Living Crisis

The webinar went on to discuss Tackling the Cost-of-Living Crisis and what is Bradford doing to help residents.

Two of Bradford District Credit Union’s flagship projects were then discussed. First was FoodSavers with Juli Thompson to provide low-cost food pantries with saving into the Credit Union. Then UniformSavers with Scott Leech on a program to help single families save for school uniforms. Both with funding from Bradford Council.

FoodSavers have 14 pantries across the district where over 250 people buy a low-cost bag of shopping for £6 with £1 going into the Credit union to get people into a savings habit. This has been a game-changer in tackling food insecurity AND poverty, we are grateful to Bradford Council for their support.

UniformSavers is a project that helped 285 save for a school uniform with a £100 incentive for savers. Both the Bradford Council Customer Service Centre and the Credit Union administered UniformSavers.  After the incentive was paid, 60% continued to save. As a result, Bradford Council has agreed to fund UniformSavers #2 launching later this month. Both speakers gave moving stories of how the schemes helped people in need get into a savings habit.

Threats to Financial Health – What are the issues?

Katie Pickett, Professor of Etymology, at York University gave the national picture of how 2.2 million households are in fuel poverty.

James Grimes from Gambling with Lives gave a very personal account of his own addiction as he discussed his work to stop gambling advertisements in sports. Saleem Shafi, Deputy CEO of ‘Money Buddies’, and Javed Khan CEO of ‘Cnet’ spoke on the advice given to people in desperate circumstances with some stories from clients. Discussions turned to loan sharks and heard about the Illegal Money Lending Team to help stop loan sharks from destroying lives in our communities.

Community Development Credit Unions: Why Bradford is a UK Model of Community Development?

CEO of ABCUL Robert Kelly introduced USA speakers Rene Vargas from Inclusiv and Chad Helminak from the National Credit Union Foundation. With the international theme this year being ‘Empower Your Financial Future with a Credit Union’, Robert talked about how a group of Credit Unions, including BDCU, went to Madison, USA in August to visit Chad and Rene’s colleague Pablo and he asked them to tell us more about the ‘Community Development Credit Union’ (CDCU) movement in the USA as bi-laterally share our learning.

Chad explained that CDCUs worked in communities to build projects and products. With the aim of meet the needs of the people like Bradford was doing. Rene explained how he led an inspirational project focused on meeting the needs of Hispanic communities that are largely ignored.


ABCUL CEO Robert Kelly said ‘BDCU is a model for working in partnership with a Local Authority. The huge response in bookings for this ‘Tackling the Cost-of-Living Crisis’ webinar demonstrates the need for more innovative partnership projects. The likes of FoodSavers and UniformSavers are vital in helping vulnerable people at such a time as this.’

Helpful tips

The cost of living is rising and there are tough times ahead. In addition, we have launched a new money tips service. BDCU will provide regular tips on a range of relevant subjects from budgeting to credit scoring and much more