How we took 150 credit unions online in the fight against payday lenders

Credit Unions - Helping out the good guys

Responding to a government initiative to provide an alternative to loan sharks and payday lenders, The Association of British Credit Unions (ABCUL) approached Equator for help. We put 150 credit unions online, and created a white label solution for hundreds more to use.

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A great alternative to the mainstream

Credit Unions can be a great alternative to the mainstream finance industry, offering competitive rates and accessible terms for members. They can also help protect the less well-off - who can’t always get credit from high-street banks - from unscrupulous lenders and sharks.

Ready for the digital world

Typically very small cooperatives serving local communities, often based in churches and community centres, few credit unions have a developed online presence. Working with ABCUL and their subsidiary, Cornerstone Mutual Services, we set about changing that.

The challenge

The job was more than just building a website template. Equator was about to take part in an ethical movement to position credit unions as the fair and kind alternative to unscrupulous, high-interest store and credit cards, rent-to-own, payday lenders and loan sharks.

 

The biggest obstacle facing credit unions was a low profile and lack of awareness, particularly in the face of widespread marketing by the less public-spirited competition. We had to build a modern, professional tool to help users find a credit union, when and where they needed it. 

Our solution

Our research showed customers will warm to a business that understands them and their local community, but need reassurance given that individual unions are often very small. By getting credit unions to join forces, we could demonstrate a national movement, challenge customer hesitancy and take on the big guys.

 

We built a search site that was simple to use for the customer, belying the complexity behind it. Functionality was key, so we gave the user the ability to search by postcode, employer, association, church or council. Intuitive results were delivered in map form or in listings, with contact details, distance from user, available services, common-bond details, and a link to a website if there was one.

The result

Our site has so far taken 150 individual credit unions online. We’ve also created a white-label solution that will allow unions to create their own simple websites to a pre-determined template.

 

ABCUL sees this as a trial that will encourage more unions online, and our work has helped prove the business case for a full nationwide launch.

Our work for ABCUL has helped ethical minnows take on the unscrupulous sharks of the financial services industry. We’ve done it with an effective and powerful search system, and a simple white-label template. If you’d like to up your game, Equator could help your business take on the big boys, too. Get in touch soon.