South West-based Great Western Credit Union (GWCU) has announced the closure of its first-ever Bond Offer raise, which amassed over £1.4m from 215 investors and surpassed the initial target of £800,000 by 76% since it launched in April 2023.
Delivered via the Ethex investment platform, the successful raise aimed to make purpose-driven finance more accessible across the South West and it has received UK-wide backing showing the increased need for ethical, affordable and fair finance amidst the cost of living crisis. As the biggest credit union in the region, with over 18,000 members, funding will allow GWCU to increase its membership and services.
The raise saw a forecasted 6.5% return for investors. Fair4All Finance, a not-for-profit organisation aiming to make the financial services sector fairer for everyone, provided pound-for-pound match funding up to £1m.
With investment in place, the focus now turns to growth. Plans include building GWCU’s employer partnership scheme Money@Work, increasing further from the current 42,000 employees across 38 organisations with access to services directly from their payroll. The investment will also allow them to continue to develop their digital platform, which launched in 2020, with plans to upgrade capabilities and offer face-to-face services.
Recognised as a leading fintech organisation in the South West, GWCU’s digital transformation has shown its ability to modernise after a shift to online banking.
James Berry, Chief Executive Officer of Great Western Credit Union, said, “We have been overwhelmed with the support we have received since we launched the Bond Offer campaign in April. The credit union has continued to go from strength to strength and it’s heartening to have gained recognition from across the UK. This is a clear reflection of the increased need for alternative and affordable finance and we will now be able to further support tens of thousands more people across our region and to help revolutionise the way ethical services are accessed.”
Holly Piper, Investment Director at Fair4All Finance, said, “We are really proud to support Great Western Credit Union as they expand access to affordable loans and other services to people across the South West, and we are thrilled with how successful this bond offer raise has been – the first major raise of its kind by a credit union. We hope that this encourages investors and others to consider supporting credit unions and other community finance organisations in this way.”
Pictured above: The Great Western Credit Union team (@JonCraig_Photos)