20th July 2006

The Credit Union Current Account, which was introduced by ABCUL today following a project with Bayberry Consulting, could help the Government eliminate financial exclusion and be the catalyst for credit unions taking off in the UK.

MPs at a House of Commons reception today were told that, later this year members from nine credit unions will be offered a current account, which will be owned and promoted by the individual credit unions with the service being hosted by The Co- operative Bank. The service will be similar to that offered by banks but with all the added benefits associated with a financial co-operative.

Paul Kennedy, Director of Bayberry Consulting said, “We are delighted to be at the House of Commons today to see the culmination of the successful long-term relationship Bayberry has enjoyed with the Credit Unions and ABCUL to realise their ambition to enter mainstream banking services.”

Throughout the course of the initiative Bayberry has advised ABCUL and the participating Credit Unions on banking and payments solutions, regulatory affairs, business strategy, and commercial engagement.

Speaking at the House of Commons Reception, Mark Lyonette, Chief Executive of ABCUL said, “Bayberry has been integral to the success of this service, from concept development through to a multi-bank tender process and negotiations which resulted in the selection of The Co-operative Bank. Their vision and drive combined with a hands- on approach has been instrumental to getting us to this point. Offering Credit Union members access to banking services and affordable credit under one roof represents a major step forward for the Government’s aim of eliminating financial exclusion.”

Initially the new banking service will be offered by nine pilot credit unions and following the successful completion of this first phase, the service will be rolled out to other credit unions throughout the UK in 2007.

Simon Rogals, Director of Bayberry Consulting added, “This development is a milestone for Credit Unions in the UK. History shows that access to banking services is often the single biggest factor in stimulating sustainable Credit Union growth. We believe the model we have deployed with the Co-operative Bank, which includes ATM and Debit card, standing orders , credit transfers, direct debits and risk analysis, will enable Credit Unions to offer a strong and competitive service on the high-street.”

Stephan Pater, Executive Director of Co-operative Financial Services (CFS), added “This service launched today now enables more of those members, previously unbanked, to become included in one worldwide banking system.”

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The Association of British Credit Unions (ABCUL) is the main trade association for credit unions in England, Scotland, and Wales. Credit unions are financial co-operatives owned and controlled by their members. They offer savings and great value loans plus they are local, ethical and know what their members want. For more information, visit www.abcul.org.

About Bayberry

Bayberry is a leading independent corporate advisory firm. Our successful and highly- rated team has a record of delivering high profile projects across Europe and in bringing new ventures to market. We work with financial institutions, financial services software and medical devices companies, venture capital firms, credit unions, payment processors, the government, and national payments organizations to define, design and implement income growth strategies and new products.

Through four practice areas we provide innovative thinking in new product and market development; a range of services to support corporate strategy throughout a company’s lifecycle; and world-class expertise in financial services, card payments and related regulation.

Bayberry’s focus is on execution. We work to deliver tangible results to drive company value growth - we don’t just consult. We are a resourceful, dedicated and, most of all, active partner to our client companies.

For further press information, please contact: Simon Rogals / Paul Kennedy
Bayberry Consulting