Duchess of Cornwall welcomes CUDEs & praises credit unions

(October 15, 2014) It might surprise you to learn that a June BBC news article reported that just 2 percent of the adult population of the United Kingdom belongs to a credit union, while 46 percent of adults in the United States are credit union members.

“In the UK, credit unions are still relatively unknown, which creates issues around credibility,” acknowledges Marlene Shiels, ICUDE, chief executive of $50 million (U.S.) Capital Credit Union Limited, Edinburgh.

But Shiels has good news. Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall‘s first visit to a credit union–to Capital CU in 2012–spurred her to learn more about, and do more to support, these institutions.

“The Duchess was so taken with the work we do, particularly for those with fewer financial choices, she decided to get to know credit unions better,” Shiels says. Shiel’s 25-year-old Capital CU has a community-based membership of 19,000 that covers the East of Scotland (from the Scottish Borders to Angus). “Our main products are savings and loans, mortgages and prepaid debit cards,” Shiels says. “We do not offer checking accounts.”

Married to Charles, Prince of Wales, heir to the British throne, since 2005, Camilla Parker Bowles decided to use the title The Duchess of Cornwall, as her husband is also known as The Duke of Cornwall. According to Shiels, The Duchess has continued to learn about and promote credit unions in the UK “by undertaking other visits, meeting with credit union leagues, and visiting and joining her local credit union in London. She is now hosting a reception at Clarence House (her royal residence in London) on International Credit Union Day to spread the word.”

Shiels and Lois Kitsch, CUDE, national program manager for the National Credit Union Foundation‘s REAL Solutions program, Madison, Wis., will be among the CU leaders at the meeting. Shiels and Kitsch met during the World Council of Credit Unions convention in Ireland in 1994, and reconnected when Kitsch mentored the Credit Union Development Educator training that Shiels attended in 2000. (Watch this video to learn more about the Credit Union Development Educator program.)


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