Credit union “pioneer” wins national award

A pioneer of the credit union movement has received a prestigious Lifetime Achievement award from the Credit Unions of Wales.

Leanne Herberg, the chief executive of Cardiff & Vale Credit Union received the national title from BBC broadcaster Roy Noble OBE at The Pierhead in Cardiff Bay on Thursday 20 October – International Credit Union Day.

For the past 11 years she has become one of the most respected and recognised advocates within the credit union movement in Wales.

On receiving her award, Leanne, who is leaving her post for a new role in Cardiff Metropolitan University in November, said: “I’m very honoured to have won the award, and would like to thank my team, Board of Directors and volunteers for their brilliant support. Our achievements have all been a team effort, and I’m very grateful to them. I’d also like to thank all of my Credit Unions of Wales colleagues for their wonderful support and friendship. There is a fantastic network of mutual support in the sector here in Wales, and I’ve loved being a part of it.”

Under her leadership Cardiff & Vale Credit Union has grown from a small credit union sited in the basement of Cardiff’s County Hall, to a vibrant financial co-op that has more than doubled in membership, with two prominent branches one in a prime position in the city centre of Cardiff, and the second in the vibrant heart of Barry.

Leanne’s tenure has also seen the credit union strengthen its approach to ethical finance, becoming a Real Living Wage employer, achieving Chwarae Teg Fair Play accreditation for gender diversity, being named Social Enterprise of the Year at the Cardiff Business Awards and becoming the first financial services provider in Wales to receive a five-star accreditation by the Fairbanking Foundation for its personal loans.

Leanne’s passion and vision for fair finance has extended beyond her Chief Executive role and she has worked to promote the work of credit unions, from representing the movement on Welsh Government’s Financial Inclusion Steering Group, taking part in a number of Money and Pensions Services roundtables to develop a new vision for financial wellbeing in Wales, to speaking at high profile events and representing Welsh credit unions in media interviews.

Tom Owens, Manager of Progress Systems Ltd who sponsored the event said: ““The Credit Unions of Wales Awards illustrate the commitment and dedication of businesses, workers, organisations, members and volunteers towards the global credit union movement.

“It shows how credit unions are building communities and helping people manage their finances for a better future.”

The Welsh Government’s Minister for Social Justice Jane Hutt said: “Credit unions offer an ethical and affordable way of saving and borrowing for us all. They are a way we can contribute as a community to support those who are experiencing hardship, debt and poverty. This is more important than ever in light of the current cost-of-living crisis.

“We can all help underpin this ethical borrowing and saving service for those who need it as an alternative to payday loans.

“I believe that together we can make a huge difference to the financial wellbeing of people across our nation.

“Congratulations to all of the winners for all they do to further the incredible work of ethical savings and loan providers across Wales.”

Thanks to the ongoing support of Welsh Government, the Credit Unions of Wales Awards took place at The Pierhead on Cardiff Bay before an audience of almost 100 guests.

There were eight categories with a winner and highly commended named for each. The awards were presented by BBC broadcaster Roy Noble OBE.
The Credit Unions of Wales Awards took place on International Credit Union Day (Thursday 20 October)

 

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