The Credit Union is a not for profit savings and loans co-operative dedicated to promoting saving rather than borrowing. It also provides low cost loans at times of need.
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The Credit Union can trace its roots back to 1962 when it started to provide low cost loans and secure savings accounts. You can read our history HERE on the website of the British Credit Union Historical Society.
Our primary objective is to encourage people to save, but we also provide low cost loans when people need to borrow. We are now one of the largest and fastest growing credit unions in the UK. Membership is open to anyone who lives, works, studies or worships in these areas – Brent, Barnet, Camden, City of London, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington or Waltham Forest OR is a member of, or an employee of The Co-operative Group in London and the South East Region (Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Greater London, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey and West Sussex) OR is a member of Unite the Union OR Unison in the Greater London Region OR is an employee of any one of the following organisations anywhere in the UK:
- Action on Hearing Loss/RNID
- Bahay Philippino Housing Association
- Barnet & Chase Farms Hospitals Trust
- Barts Health NHS Trust
- BPP Education
- Circle Housing Group
- Citizens Advice
- Co-operative Group South East Region
- Dorchester Collection
- Elior Catering
- Freemantle Trust
- Genesis Housing Association
- Great Ormond Street Hospital
- Greenwich Leisure
- Guardian Media Group
- Guarding UK
- Homerton NHS Trust
- Islington & Shoreditch Housing Association
- Murphy Group
- Middlesex University
- Moorfields NHS Trust
- One Housing Group
- Orbit Group
- Origin Housing
- Picturehouse Cinemas
- Radio Taxis (London)
- Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
- Royal Air Force Museum
- Southern Housing Group
- TfL Transport for London
- UCLH NHS Trust
- Unite the Union
- University College London
- Veolia Environmental Services
Ethics, Values and Principles
The primary objective of the credit union is to promote sound financial management by encouraging people to save rather than borrow. Unlike other financial institutions there is no minimum savings level unless you take a loan, and no minimum loan value. By encouraging saving we prevent debt. Our ‘Saver Loans’ see part of any repayment allocated to the members’ own savings account, so as the loan is paid off, the member accumulates savings. Over time members build up savings and end the cycle of borrowing. We specialise in helping people on low incomes, and/or facing problems with debt. The credit union offers a range of information and support for members in financial difficulties. The low cost loans provide a real alternative to people who would otherwise borrow using expensive bank loans, credit cards, or even payday loans. Everything we do is guided by the internationally recognised Co-operative Values & Principles.
Anyone who saves with the credit union becomes a member of the co-operative and can use one of many of our named savings/budgeting accounts open to them. Savings can be withdrawn within 3 working days upon request. The savings form a pool of money held in trust and any member can apply to borrow from this pool of money. As we have no outside shareholders and is supported by so many volunteers it can offer low cost and flexible loans to its members.
Democracy, Equality and Fairness
As a co-operative we operate differently to other businesses owned by shareholders. Our Board of Directors are directly elected by and from our membership, on a one person one vote basis. In a conventional business the more shares you have the more votes you have meaning that only the wealthy have any real say or control. In a co-operative any member has an equal say in the running of the business. This is the reason we have different ethics, values and principles than most of our competitors in the financial services market, and why we return any financial surplus to our members in the local community rather than to wealthy individuals in offshore tax havens. These co-operative values and principles set us out as a more democratic, equal and more fair way
The credit union is Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Firm Ref. No. 214094. The regulation is the same as for other banks and building societies, requiring robust financial systems, training of staff, and internal/external audit systems. Insurance policies protect member’s savings from fraud, theft and dishonesty. Although volunteer led, the credit union has a compliment of staff that are highly qualified and experienced in the field. Ultimately the members’ savings are protected against business failure by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. For further information please click here: https://protected.fscs.org.uk/
Credit unions form part of the wider international co-operative movement and can be found in 118 countries, with over 270 million members. In the UK there are 280 credit unions with 1,434,000 members and around £1.8bn in assets. Further information about the wider movement can be found using the ‘Useful Links’ section of our website.