News

  • ACE members' newsletter available - June 2016

    The June 2016 edition of the ACE Newsletter is now available to download (PDF).

    This newsletter includes articles on:

    • ACE Conference & AGM

    • AGM motions

    • Annual Conference presentations

    • Welcomes and Goodbyes to and from the Board

    • CEO Plans to Visit the Majority of ACE Credit Union 2016-2017

    • Newport Credit Union moves to Indoor Market

    • Conference Feedback

    • Mendip Community Credit Union Produces Volunteering Video with support from Unity Trust Bank

    • Barclays Announces Year 2 Support Programme Winners

    • Next meeting with the Regulators 5th July 2016

  • ACE members' newsletter available - February 2016

    The February 2016 edition of the ACE Newsletter is now available to download (PDF).

    This newsletter includes articles on:

    • PRA makes significant modifications to the reform of the Legacy Credit Unions Sourcebook

    • Barbara Hann awarded CBE by the Prince of Wales for services to the financially excluded

    • ACE Conference heading for Newcastle in North Tyneside's Year of Credit Unions

    • Scottish Parliament pledges to make Scotland a Credit Union Nation

    • Is your Credit Union's money safe with the banks and building societies?

    • Banknotes are changing - the new fiver is coming in September 2016

    • Collecting financial date to promote ACE Credit Unions

    • ACE launches virtual training programme pilot in partnership with Coventry and Warwickshire Co-operative Development Agency

  • PRA makes modifications to the Reform of the legacy Credit Unions Sourcebook

    Original Proposals

    • Limit on shares and deposits for credit union members to the FSCS level of protection

    • Framework for additional activities based on achieving ratios

    • Minimum capital for credit unions with either £10m assets or 10,000 members to be 10%

    • Lending to be subject to a cap of £500,000

    • Credit unions must maintain a liquidity ratio of a minimum of 10% at all times

    • General provision for bad debt removed and replaced by mandatory tiered requirements

    • Boards to report to AGM on compliance with key regulatory requirements

    • Compliance with general organisational requirements and whistleblowing

    On the 1st February the Bank of England publicised its Policy Statement on the Reform of the legacy Credit Unions sourcebook.

    There were some modifications made to the original proposals set out in the Consultation Papers CP22/15 PRA and CP15/21 FCA which received 124 responses. Rule changes will come into place on the 3 February 2016. Modifications and rule changes have been highlighted below:

    Limit on shares and deposits

    The original proposal was to set a limit on the amount of shares that could be held in a credit union to the maximum amount that would be covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Although this was not likely to affect many credit unions, ACE and UKCU argued that this proposal would give a negative view of credit unions to existing members and potential new members, in that credit unions could be viewed an insecure place to save for those members who would wish to hold larger amounts in shares thus undermining consumer confidence. Recognising this potential impact of this proposal, particularly on larger credit unions, the PRA will not now set a blanket restriction on shares but will expect credit unions with members wishing to exceed the FSCS limit to provide an advance notification to the PRA. You now have to tell the PRA at least 5 days before issuing shares above this limit, and they can refuse you permission.

    Framework for additional activities

    Although ACE and UKCU welcomed the abolition of the version 1 and version 2 credit union models we were concerned about the introduction of the proposed “minimum prudential standard” that would be imposed on credit unions before they could undertake any additional services including a minimum 10% capital:assets ratio or to benefit from the new opportunities to invest in a wider range of capital protected products over a longer period of time. There was concern that the proposed framework would impose a rigid structure of prescribed regulatory requirements that would have seen many credit unions failing to meet some of the ratios suggested in the original proposal. Taking such responses into account the PRA has modified the proposal in the following way:

    • The 10% capital requirement will now be composed of two elements, an 8% minimum to be maintained at all times and a 2% capital buffer which would be available to absorb losses in stress situations. Buffer to be in place by September 2018.

    • The number of ratios that credit unions will be expected to achieve will be reduced with credit union boards deciding which of the ratios correctly reflect their business model. While most of the ratios remain, credit unions will now be able to set the level of these ratios based on its individual business model. The PRA has set out indicative requirements and expects the levels set by Credit Unions to be justifiable.

    Minimum Capital Requirements

    The previous hard line on achieving a 10% capital ratio has been eased by the 8% fixed + 2% buffer approach but the PRA has modified the requirement for a minimum of a 10% capital ratio to those credit unions with over £10m in assets or 15,000 members (was previously 10,000).

    Maximum Lending Cap

    The proposed maximum lending cap of £500,000 has been removed by the PRA.

    Bad Debt Provisioning

    The General Provision requirement for bad debts has been removed and replaced by a mandatory tiered obligation which will require all credit unions to make the following provisions from the 3rd February 2016:

    months in arrears bad debt provision
    3 35%
    6 60%
    9 80%
    12+ 100%

    Bad Debt Write-offs

    The original proposal to write-off all bad debts over 12 months in arrears has been removed by the PRA. Credit unions will still have to make a 100% provision but will not automatically have to write-off these debts.

    Audited Accounts

    • It is now a rule that British credit unions must submit annual audited accounts to both the PRA and the FCA.

    Electronic Reporting

    • Electronic reporting by credit unions will become mandatory in the near future via the website portal with an estimated timeline of the end of Q2 2016. Annual and Quarterly Returns will be simplified with the addition of separate provisioning and information regarding additional activities.

    Criminal Records Checks (CRC)

    • It is the responsibility of all credit unions to undertake a CRC on all new Directors.

    Liquidity

    • Liquidity remains at 10% unattached shares.

  • ACE members' newsletter available - October 2015

    The October 2015 edition of the ACE Newsletter is now available to download (PDF).

    This newsletter includes articles on:

    • All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) - Credit Unions

    • Joint Consultation Paper Response - PRA 22/15 + FCA 15/21

    • Welsh Government Credit Union Collaboration Group

    • Scottish Government Working Group - Credit Unions

    • Improving Individual Accountability: Workshop for Credit Unions

    • Criminal Records and Credit Reference Checks

    • Mendip Credit Union wins award of Best Community Support Organisation

    • International Credit Union Day

    • Brecon & District Credit Union celebrates its 20th Birthday

    • Newport Credit Union says “no debt” on International Credit Union Day

    • It's all happening in Neath Port Talbot

    • Llynfi Valley becomes the latest Welsh CU to join ACE

    • Getting into the savings habit the healthy way

  • ACE members' newsletter available - July 2015

    The July 2015 edition of the ACE Newsletter is now available to download (PDF).

    This newsletter includes articles on:

    • Barbara Hann awarded CBE for services to the financially excluded

    • ACE Conference goes down well with delegates

    • 2015 AGM Motions

    • ACE Credit Unions benefit from Barclays Credit Union Fund

    • Meeting with the Regulators - 25 Jun 2015

  • CP22/15 - Reform of the legacy Credit Unions sourcebook

    CP22/15 - Reform of the legacy Credit Unions sourcebook released on the 24th June 2015, proposals to replace the existing CREDS. The major changes that the Consultation Paper proposes are:

    • The shelving of the existing Version 2 category of credit unions - to be replaced with four categories to reflect differing business models. The new categories will be applicable to those credit unions wishing to undertake additional activities Some specified additional activities will require credit unions to maintain a 10% capital requirement although this does not include payment services..

    • Boards of Directors to report to their members annually - at an AGM about any specified additional activities that it is undertaking and additional information will be required in Regulatory returns. Boards must also report on whether the credit union has complied with Single Customer View requirements for depositor protection and on whether it has maintained the required insurance against fraud and dishonesty.

    • A financial risk management policy statement - must be maintained by any credit union carrying on any of the specified activities including mortgages, additional lending, additional investments or payment services. Policy statements on liquidity management and lending must still be produced by all credit unions.

    • New limit on maximum Shareholding – under this proposal no credit union will be permitted to allow a member to be exposed to the risk of a loss of deposits which means that the current FSCS protection limit of £85,000 could not be exceeded by members. This proposal is likely to impact on large credit unions only.

    • Increase in the Capital ratio of large credit unions – credit unions with more than 10,000 members or £10million in assets will be expected to achieve a 10% capital ratio instead of the current level of 8%. This ratio will not apply until 1 October 2018. The ratio will rise to 9% on 1 October 2017. For all other credit unions the ratio remains at 3%, rising to 5% once they have reached either 5,000 members or £5million in assets.

    • Credit unions will not be able to make a sub-ordinated loan - (repayable on liquidation after other debts have been paid) unless it is to another credit union and forms part of that credit unions capital. Restrictions will apply to amounts over £15,000.

    • General provision for bad debts will be abolished – due to the fact that this provision served no meaningful purpose.

    • Current guidance to make a specific of 60% when a loan is more than 6 months in arrears and 80% when more than 9 moths in arrears will become a rule – ensuring a consistent approach to provisioning.

    • Increase in range and duration of investments -currently only available to Version 2 credit unions will be available to all credit unions providing that they fulfil the additional requirements, including having a capital to total assets ratio in excess of 10%.

    • Payment services to members restricted – to credit unions achieving additional requirements aimed at insuring that Boards fully understand the implications of offering such a service to members.

    • Credit unions have to maintain a liquidity ratio of at least 10% at all times – replacing the current ratio of 5%.

    (A PDF version of this page is available for download.)

  • Barbara Hann awarded CBE

    Founding member of ACE Credit Union Services, Barbara Hann, has been awarded with a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. This high level award, which is known fully as Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, is given to those who have played a prominent role at a national level in their field. Barbara was the Chief Executive Officer of ACE Credit Union Services until October 2014, when she decided to take a well- earned break from her long-term involvement with the British credit union movement.

    Barbara has an impressive past record for working in the best interests of those who often feel excluded and isolated in society and her past job roles have included being a Head Teacher, a Social Worker and a Trade Union Branch Secretary. She has a reputation for standing up for the rights of those who often feel that they have no voice and her work with credit unions over the past twenty years has been exemplary.

    Barbara Hann having just received her CBE for services to the financially excluded. The second picture shows Barbara with her two sons, Trevor (left) and Paul (right). Bill Hudson, CEO of ACE, said: "We are all extremely proud of Barbara and what she has achieved, and delighted that all of her hard work has been recognised at such a high level."

    Barbara, who lives in Newcastle, is a well-known figure in the credit union movement and is well respected by all key stakeholders in the field at all levels. She was a founder members of Moneywise Credit Union in Newcastle, where she worked as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for a number of years before taking on the role as CEO of ACE Credit Union Services, of which she was also a founder member in 2001.

    Barbara lost her husband Stan in 2012, a Second World War veteran who served as a glider pilot and who took part in the invasion of Normandy on 1944 on his 24th birthday. Barbara and Stan had a very similar work ethic as evidenced by Stan’s decision to volunteer to work for a new cancer charity in Newcastle at the age of 91. Stan would have been extremely proud of Barbara’s award as are her two son Paul and Trevor.

    Bill Hudson, who took over from Barbara as CEO in 2014 said: “All those involved with ACE are extremely pleased and proud to hear the news that Barbara has been awarded the honour of receiving a CBE from the Queen. It is a much deserved recognition of Barbara’s contribution to the development of the credit union movement over the years and her dedication to representing and speaking on behalf of some of the most disadvantaged members of our society.”

    In receiving this award Barbara joins a talented list of British women including Glenda Jackson, Vanessa Redgrave, Sheila Hancock, Joan Bakewell, Esther Rantzen and Julie Walters.

  • ACE members' newsletter available - April 2015

    The April 2015 edition of the ACE Newsletter is now available to download (PDF).

    This newsletter includes articles on:

    • ACE secures contract to deliver Barclays Credit Union Programme

    • Regulators announce removal of FSCS protection from credit union deposits

    • HM Treasury published response to “call for evidence on credit unions”

    • Another Scottish credit union joins ACE

    • ACE Annual Conference & AGM 2015

    • ACE web-site members' area

  • Barclays Announces Support Programme for Credit Unions

    Barclays has announced their planned support programme for credit unions over the next 4 years.

    Barclays is a proud supporter of the credit union sector. Since 2004 and they have given over £4 million to community finance in the UK, supporting over 100 credit unions and CDFIs to innovate and grow. Barclays promotes an agenda of shared growth in the UK and they continue to believe in the crucial role credit unions play in creating a healthy UK economy.

    In April 2014 Barclays announced a further £1m of support to the credit union sector over the next four years. Barclays have spent time consulting with the sector on current needs and have now evolved our support into this new programme focused on developing robustly evaluated training and direct support.

    The programme will focus on increasing the capacity, skills and resilience of credit unions so they can grow and become more effective and sustainable organisations benefitting even more households. 
    The new pilot programme is open to all credit unions in the UK, regardless of trade association affiliation. Through this programme, Barclays hope to encourage collaboration, identification and sharing of best practice and the development and enhancement of key skills and operational practices to promote growth and improvements across the sector.

    The programme will fund a team of specialists who will work with participating credit unions to explore their key support needs and priorities and then develop and deliver tailored training and support that will help make a sustainable impact in the sector, improving the skills and capabilities of selected credit unions and their members across the UK.

    This application is for the first year of the new programme between April 2015 and April 2016. Barclays will select a number of credit unions at the beginning of the programme year, but please note that we will providing the training on a rolling basis throughout the 12 month period.

    The application deadline for Year 1 will close at 10:00 am on Monday 30th March 2015. Applications will only be received via email; hard copies will not be accepted. Please send your completed application to:
     BarclaysCreditUnionProgramme@Barclays.com

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