British Credit Union Historical Society

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Blues and Twos Credit Union Ltd

From February 1992 has been operating first as Lancashire Police and Staff Associations Credit Union. Starting out in a police house bathroom on the Lancashire Police Headquarters complex.  It was the brain child of a Lancashire Police Federation representative who wanted something more and better for Police employees. Two months later changing to Federation and Staff Association Credit Union from April the same year. In July 1998, the name became what is now Blues and Twos serving Lancashire & Cumbria Police, Fire and Ambulance services. eventually spreading membership across Lancashire & Cumbria more than 7300 employed in the emergency services, for local and county councils, in schools, colleges & universities as well as the county and local councils and members of Unison and Unite the Union working in the two counties. The credit union also looks after over 200 juniors’ savers. Word of mouth has historically been the best form of advertising with members introducing others.  For the past number of years, the total savings had grown at a far greater pace than the loan book. The marketing mix during 2016 was extended to reach those savers who were looking for loans but had never borrowed from the credit union. As a result, the credit union made new loans in early 2017 worth near £300K. The credit union celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2017 with a growth over the years of 7,300 members who have savings worth £12.4 million and are borrowing £6 million. The anniversary will see the provision of a new exciting interactive website taking the credit union into the future.  At the start of 2018 it was reported the credit union was awarded 5 stars award from the Fairbanking Foundation. This was after reading the feedback from the IPOS MORI survey in which credit union borrowing members were asked about their lending experience and after sales care.

 “Working for you and not for profit”.

Mendip Community Credit Union Ltd

Was registered in 2000 and has just achieved the milestone of lending out more than £2 million since it started.  Somerset based Mendip Credit Union was awarded "Best Community Support Organisation" at the Mendip Business Awards in June 2015. The award was sponsored by Aster Communities, one of the local social housing providers who have set up a loan guarantee with the credit union for their tenants. A ‘hand-up not a hand out’ fund by Mendip credit union is targeted at helping people who need to borrow a relatively small amount of money for an urgent need, for example, to buy a bed or to pay a utility bill. Traditionally, the Government’s Social Fund met these requirements, but many people are now ineligible and the fund also runs dry before the end of the financial year. Frome Town Council has opened a savings account with the Mendip Credit Union, an organisation entirely run by volunteers, and is working closely with Fair Frome to look at how best to develop this service for the people living in the BA11 postcode area. It is intended that the profile of the credit union facilities will be raised within the local Frome community, alongside the opening of more service points, which will enable people to access the service more easily. In addition to the Library on a Saturday morning, it is hoped to open the next service point at The Key Centre in Frome. Contact

City Save Credit Union Ltd

was initially registered in 1988 as the Birmingham Council Employees Credit Union, to provide easily accessible savings and borrowing facilities to its staff. From May 2003, provided ethical and affordable financial services to all those who live or work in Birmingham. Citysave provides savings and loans to over 10,000 members from the wider community. The organisation now has an asset base of almost £7m and is the largest community based Credit Union operating in the Midlands area. Partnering employers include the Birmingham City Council, NHS, Service Birmingham, Capita, Amey plc, Mitie, Aston University, Trident Reach and Aquarius. Because of all the hard work and determination, Citysave has won an award for excellence in active partnerships at the national Credit Union awards in 2012.

Lewisham Plus Credit Union Ltd

Was founded in 1992 and since opening in1992 has grown every year now serves more than 10,000 adult members and more than 1,500 junior savers. They were formerly known as ACTS CU Ltd and merged with Deptford and New Cross Credit Union Ltd in 2010. Anyone who lives or works in the London Boroughs of Lewisham or Bromley or in the SE19 post code can join. Any staff or residents of Lewisham Homes and Phoenix Community Housing Association can also join.

In 2017 The credit Union celebrated the 25th AGM that was held at The Grove Centre Church in Sydenham, which is the same venue at which the credit union was launched in 1992, with the support of the then-Mayor of Lewisham Jim Dowd, now the Member of Parliament for Lewisham West. at the Annual General Meeting the current Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock with Lewisham Plus Credit Union President Frank Whittle was there to congratulate the credit union on its 25 years’ service to the local community and to present long service awards to five of the founder members. The credit union is planning more special events for different parts of the community throughout the year.

In October 2017 “A Matter of Life and Debt” has been an uplifting and positive TV documentary series exploring the important and life changing work carried out by credit unions up and down the country. The Credit Union was very pleased to have been selected for the BBC One series featuring the good work of the credit union sector and how members are supported to manage their finances in the wake of welfare reform and a tightening in the credit market. It was also great news that the jubilee year could be celebrated with this great exposure with founding members Frank Whittle, Liam Carlisle, Lisa Treece and Paul Treece. Who are still heavily involved with the credit union and feature in the documentary

Wolverhampton City Credit Union Ltd

Started by a small group of enthusiastic volunteers early in 2000a s a study group and registered in 2002. It is one of the city’s truly outstanding success stories. The largest credit union in Wolverhampton, WCCU is a fair community bank offering ethical financial services for people living and working in the WV postcode areas of Wolverhampton, South Staffordshire and Shropshire Today it is a substantial not-for-profit business with £2.2 million in savings and £1.2 million in loans, more than 6,500 members across Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire. In 2015, we merged with the New Friends Credit Union in Low Hill to become the largest credit union across Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire. They have two branches in Wolverhampton. The main branch is at 73 Worcester Street and a smaller branch where members can pop in which is on the ground floor of the Civic Centre in St Peter’s Square. 2016 the Living Wage commitment will see that everyone working at WCCU, regardless of whether they are permanent employees or third-party contractors, receives a minimum hourly wage of £8.45 - significantly higher than the National Minimum Wage and the new National Living Wage for over 25s of £7.20 per hour. The community bank will be launched in Low Hill for the first time (JULY 26 2017), as part of efforts to drive out loan sharks preying on local people. The credit union had taken on doorstep lenders and loan sharks in local communities by setting up two pop-up credit unions in Low Hill and The Scotlands. This innovative development in 2017 had seen a growth in members, savings and ethical loans in those neighbourhoods, places that are cynically targeted by lenders who profit out of people’s financial desperation and who care little about the impact of problem debt. The credit union also signed up five more local employers to its payroll deduction scheme in 2017. 

Norwich Credit Union Ltd

Was formed in 1989 as Norwich Community Cooperative Credit Union, to serve the organisations based at 38 Exchange Street, Norwich. Over time these developmental and environmental organisations changed or moved to other locations in the city. The common bond was then expanded to Living or working in Norfolk or within the Norwich postcode area (NR1-NR35). In June 2013, it merged with Ketts Credit Union in Norwich, to provide an expanded and more cost-efficient service. In 2016 As well as its head office in the city, the new service point in Great Yarmouth joins seven other local service points which bring the credit union’s services closer to communities across the county. Norwich is to be one of the first credit unions to receive the FairLife Personal Loans Mark. This demonstrates to the public that loans are well designed in the interest of the consumer. It has been established to encourage customers to repay their debts, promote a competitive loan quote market and protect customers who find themselves in financial difficulties. FairLife Personal Loans Mark is a sign of trust, highlighting organisations that put the wellbeing of the public at the heart of their business. NCU President, was interviewed in the BBC studio February 2018 and discussed how joining a credit union helps members create saving habits and become financially responsible. He said: “One of the main fundamentals of a credit union is to teach its members to be responsible with borrowing and saving.” Since the news feature there has been an increase in applications received to join NCU and website hits have spiked since the credit unions news slot.  

Your Credit Union Ltd

 One of Britain’s newest credit unions, Your CU was founded in 2013 and now has more than 1,000 savers and 450 borrowers.Proudly serving Kensington & Chelsea, Westminster, Hammersmith & Fulham, Queen’s Park and Kensal Green in Brent and St Mary’s Park and Queenstown in Wandsworth. The Bishop of Kensington, Rt Revd. Paul Williams joined Your Credit Union as part of a church wide celebration of International Credit Union Day. A number of churches and faith groups have recently opened deposit accounts with YourCU including St Peter’s Hall Charity and the Latymer Christian Centre 1st December 2014 saw the launch of YourCU’s first Individual Savings Account or ISA. 2015 Helping parents avoid loan sharks and high interest borrowing is behind a joint project between YourCU and Colville Primary School in Portobello. YourCU has been working with local branches of Barclays Bank for the last 12 months promoting the union’s products and services through the bank’s branch network.

Just Credit Union Ltd

Known as the 'Community Bank' for Shropshire and Telford Just Credit Union was registered with the Registry of Friendly Societies in August 2001. This was the result of the work and skills of a committed group of Shropshire volunteers supported by paid staff. The registration of the credit union in Shropshire was ground breaking, covering a large geographical area with its common bond. Since starting they have lent over £10 million to members up to 2016   There was a unanimous vote in favour of extending the common bond to include Herefordshire and the surrounding areas for a merger with Money Box Credit Union at a Special General Meeting in September 2016. The credit union serves junior savers. A partnership in 2017 the first of its kind for Shropshire with Revive is where you can buy furniture at low prices in the showroom in Telford Shopping Centre. The partnership is to enable local people on low incomes to spread the cost of purchasing essential household items using a credit union loan to make affordable payments that suit them. This is a win-win situation for Reviive, Just Credit Union and the customer. Reviive was formed by two Shropshire based charities called Shropshire Housing Alliance and South Shropshire Furniture Scheme. 2017 saw the Fairbanking Foundation award JCU the 5-star Fairbanking Mark for both their Community Loan and Member Loan products. To receive the award a credit union undergoes a rigorous assessment, including an independent survey by Ipsos MORI and must prove the product has features and support services which help to improve financial wellbeing.  As well as receiving the 5-star Mark, the credit union were nominated as a finalist for the UK Social Enterprise Awards 2017 because of the positive impact they had on their community. The shortlisting was for ‘Transformative Community Business’ category.  Nominating a locally rooted social enterprise that trades for the benefit of their community and has a track record of delivering real benefits for the community they serve. 

Prince Bishop Community Bank

Prince Bishops Credit Union was created when East Derwentside Credit Union in Stanley successfully merged with West Derwentside Credit Union in Consett in 2009. It is supported by Derwentside Homes, Derwentside Council for Voluntary Services, County Durham NHS, the County Durham Foundation and Sherburn Hospice. The decision to rename the Prince Bishops Credit Union the Prince Bishops Community Bank was to let people know that they are a community bank that are helping the community to save money.

The thinking was that a community bank is a more user-friendly term as the word ‘credit’ can put people off, particularly in the current economic climate. Prince Bishops Community Bank / Tynedale Community Bank, is a 'not for profit' Credit Union. They have branches in Stanley and Bishop Auckland, and information points in Hexham and Allendale. Common Bond is Live or Work in County Durham. 

. During 2017 the Directors of Prince Bishops Community Bank were in discussions to examine the potential benefits to Members of merging with of NEFirst Credit Union.  After undertaking a thorough review of each organisation, they announced that they have agreed to merge in 2018.

Boom! Credit Union Ltd

Is the name of the credit union, run by West  Sussex and Surrey Credit UnionThe merger has created a larger, financially stronger organisation that will ensure the long-term sustainability of the credit union movement in both Surrey and West Sussex. The financial strength will ensure they can continue to look after all potential members across West Sussex, Surrey and Kingston upon Thames. Guildford Borough Council’s community wardens have been particularly supportive of work and efforts to engage with Guildford residents. They have over 6,000 members. Local people and organisations have invested £4.2 million with in the credit union. The credit union works with many local schools and have set up Junior Savers schemes to encourage children to be responsible with their money from a young age. Since the launch, affordable loans totalling more than £6 million to our members has been achieved.

Steam Ahead Credit Union Ltd

In 1993 a meeting for local groups to see if there was interest in setting up a credit union by then then vicar of Saint John’s Church. The meeting was held in an upstairs room at George Hall Court. About 20 people attended, many from the church, and most volunteered to take part. Later that year Parks and Walcot Credit Union (CU) set up and approved (originally a savings club). The credit union operated from the Community Shop and was restricted to people who lived in Parks and Walcot. By January 1996 346 members had joined. In first three years’ members, had saved £96,000 and over £100,000 was lent to members. In 2002 – The credit union was taking up too much space in the Community Shop, so moved into a shop next to the chemist in Cavendish Square. Parks and Walcot CU together with Calne Community CU, Gainsborough CU, West Wiltshire CU Steering Group and North Wilts CAB got together to produce a video to explain what credit unions are all about. In 2004 People were being turned away so Parks and Walcot decided to change the common bond and the name to Steam Ahead Credit Union was born. The new common bond approved in 2005 was now all people living in Swindon south of the railway line and as far as Bishopstone.
 Extra costs of running credit unions (eg. regulatory fees and introduction of Capital Gains Tax on investment income) led to a pressure on finances and a move within Wiltshire to merge credit unions was in discussion. Some integration has resulted the issue of having one credit union for the whole of Wiltshire remains unresolved.  Grants were received of £3,000 to Steam Ahead to purchase office equipment and the credit union moved into brand new offices provided by Swindon Borough Council as part of the Cavendish Square Development.

Advance Credit Union Ltd

Was founded in 1989 as the Erdington and District Credit Union Ltd by a group of people with a common interest. In 2004 they became the North Birmingham Community Credit Union Ltd (NBCCU), merging Credit Unions in Erdington, Sutton Coldfield, Castle Vale, Kingstanding, then incorporating Saltley District in 2007. April 2013 was when the name changed to Advance Credit Union Ltd to better reflect the growth and outlook of the credit union.  Membership continued to grow to over 4000 adults and 400 juniors. Assets held of £1.8 million and they lend more than £2m each year. The head office premises in Erdington and community based Collection Points throughout the region operated by volunteers and partner organisations.


CroydonPlus Credit Union Ltd

Croydon Plus was originally established in 1999 as Croydon Savers Credit Union Ltd (Croydon Employees Credit Union); a credit union for Croydon Council staff. The team includes paid staff and volunteers, with both providing support to customers at additional locations in Merton and Sutton. In 2004 the credit union expanded membership, to anyone living or working in Croydon. In 2010 the name changed to Croydon Merton & Sutton Credit Union to reflect the further expansion into Merton and Sutton. In February 2016 the name to CroydonPlus was tomark the beginning of a sustained process of modernisation for current and new members, as the credit union responds to the opportunities and challenges of financial services in the digital age. While the new name is CroydonPlus, the credit union continues to trade as Croydon Merton & Sutton Credit Union. 

Northeast Warrington Credit Union ltd

In 1992, Ian Telfer (Warrington Borough Council Community Development Officer) instigated a training course for volunteers, the long-term aim of which was the introduction of credit unions to Warrington.

1993: Poulton North Savings Club  As a result, Poulton North Savings Club was established in 1993.

1994: Credit Union Status The Savings Club prospered and in 1994 was granted the right to operate as a credit union by the Registrar of Friendly Societies.  This was the recognition and vote of confidence the volunteers had been working hard to achieve.  As a result, the credit union opened with some 180 members.

2000: Common Bond Area Extended In March 2000, the credit union extended its Common Bond area to include the New Town area of Birchwood ward.

2002: Merger with Poplars' Credit Union The credit union subsequently amalgamated with Poplars' credit union in 2002. With the merger and Common Bond area approved, the organisation became North East Warrington Credit Union, reflecting more completely the catchments’s area it now served.  From the original 3 square miles, NEWCU now operated across 24 square miles with a resident population in the region of 60,000.

2014: NEWCU embraces Warrington NEWCU's Common Bond area now covers the whole of Warrington with a resident population of just over 200,000

Wherry Dragon Credit Union

Was originally born out of a credit union set up for employees of Norwich City Council. Norwich City Council Employees Credit Union (NCCECU) was established in 1992 as part of a Council wide initiative to promote the valuable work of the credit union movement to the City and its residents. It exists today as one of seven credit unions operating in Norfolk. The City Council had been changing its approach to delivering its services The Board of Directors recognised in 2006 and made a strategic decision to widen the ‘common bond’ to other local government organisations across Norfolk. City Care, Norfolk County Council, Norse Commercial Services and other organisations connected to the credit union. In 2007 the name became Wherry Dragon Credit Union, a countywide financial co-operative offering membership to all local government employees and those providing local government services across Norfolk. The future direction is bold and groundbreaking for Norfolk the plan to grow and to offer services to all local government related organisations in Norfolk - from Cromer to Diss, Great Yarmouth to King's Lynn.  

Transave Credit Union

Formed in 1996 by volunteer Worker Directors at First Group in Sheffield, Transave was originally set up as a credit union for employees in the passenger transport industry. From the outset, the simple aim was to help colleagues in financial need and encourage the habit of saving regularly.

it was the vision of Transave’s founder Dave Edwards which started this journey. Although the bulk of its members are still employed in the bus passenger transport industry, Transave has been successful in expanding its operations to include other sectors. Employer partners currently include First Bus, Stagecoach, South Yorkshire Police and Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Trust. Transave now holds more than £19 million of members’ savings, and it has loaned out over £100 million to members during its 20-year history. The Credit Union in 2016 is now able to look forward in confidence to a further period of major expansion and success in the future.

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Jublee Tower Credit Union

Jubilee Tower Credit Union was founded in 1996 by Sudellside Community Association in Darwen as Darwen Tower Credit Union and originally operated from the community centre one evening per week. From such humble beginnings we have grown organically and securely.

In 2004 we expanded to cover the whole Borough; and a little bit more as we also serve part of the southern Ribble Valley. A little later on, in 2007, Blackburn South Credit Union merged with us so there was a single credit union serving the whole borough. We now have over 2,000 adult members and 1,800 Young Savers with assets of approximately £1 million. We are still based in Darwen town centre and as a truly accessible community enterprise we open up our services to the whole Borough by operating from a number of community locations over the week.

In 2015 and 2016 the Credit Union has received a number of awards from EDWARD FILENE CREDIT UNION AWARDS held in  london along with others from around the world of credit unions. 


Barrow & District Credit Union

With the support of the Development Officer, the Barrow & District Study Group was launched at a public meeting in October 2010. All members of the Study Group were volunteers and included elected members from the County and local councils, the NHS, local clergy and other residents from a variety of backgrounds and communities throughout the area. Their remit was to demonstrate the level of need, support and demand for a credit union within the Borough of Barrow in Furness and to make the business case for setting one up. In the first three months, they adopted a constitution, opened a bank account and obtained approval from the Financial Services Authority (FSA) to use the words ‘credit union’ in the Study Group’s title.

The next few months were spent recruiting new members to the Study Group and raising public awareness of the plans for and the benefits of a credit union. This was achieved through a public pledge campaign to evidence demand, setting up a website and making presentations to numerous groups and organisations throughout the Borough. Around 30,000 pledge leaflets and forms were delivered to households throughout the community between September 2011 and February 2012 and by the end of October over 500 pledges of support for the new credit union had been received.

During this time, members of the Study Group also spent many, many hours developing a fully costed business plan, as well as the successful submission of grant applications totalling just under £200,000 to help with the operation of the new Credit Union. With funding in place and the business plan developed, the application for authorisation was submitted to the FSA in May 2012. After many frustrating months of consultation with the FSA, approval was given to operate as a credit union in January 2013 and Barrow & District Credit Union was established at last!

Our office in Barrow in Furness opened on 22 February 2013 and interest in and support from the local community was outstanding with 100 people joining in the first few weeks. There was also a great deal of interest from the areas outside the Borough and, because the South Lakeland Credit Union had not then been set up, we received approval to extend our Common Bond to cover the areas from just outside Barrow and along to Grange. We have continued to grow from strength to strength and we now have around 1,000 members.

A ne w partnership of First Rate Credit Union and Barrow and District Credit Union began operating from the same premises at The Mall, in Barrow from March 2016. BDCU has been running for three years, while FRCU has been operating within BAE Systems and its predecessor companies for 34 years.The partnership aims to raise awareness of both credit unions and increase membership. While FRCU is owned and run by current and retired members of BAE Systems, BDCU serves those living and working in the wider Furness area.


Churches Mutual Credit Union


The CMCU project began in 2008 and is supported by the Church of England, the Church of Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Methodist Church and the Church in Wales. Individuals can join CMCU from Thursday February 12 2015. CMCU) has loaned over £1 million to members in its first year of lending. The credit union was launched in February 2015 to serve ordained ministers, lay ministers, employees and trustees of the Church of England, the Church of Scotland, the Methodist Church, the Scottish Episcopal Church and the Church in Wales. CMCU granted its first loan in May 2015, and passed the £1 million mark in April 2016. In addition to 113 car loans, the new credit union has helped members purchased two caravans and a motorbike, helped improve seven homes and furnish two others, and helped a couple pay for their wedding. The credit union has also helped 12 households turn unmanageable debt into affordable credit. In its first 15 months of operation, the credit union has attracted more than 700 members and holds over £1.6 million of members’ deposits. CMCU Chief Executive Hilary Sams said: “Although many of our members are ordained ministers, our common bond is wider than that and includes Parochial Parish Council members, trustees and office staff from five (shortly to be six) different denominations, resulting in a membership that is as diverse as our churches. “We aim to continue to do our part in promoting credit unions as a mainstream alternative in the financial sector and widening the scope of membership to individuals from all walks of life and financial circumstances.” CMCU in 2016 offered its services to ministers and staff of the United Reformed Church too. Early 2017 has added clergy and employees of the Catholic Church to its common bond approved by the regulators means an estimated further 37,000 people in eligible roles within the Catholic Church in England and Wales and in Scotland.




New Central Credit Union

Started as Phoenix Five Credit Union, which was first registered in July 2000 with its office in WATCH Ltd in Hillfields.  In 2001 there was a transfer of engagement from Coventry City Council Employees Credit Union to Phoenix Five. Coventry West CU came into being when Phoenix Five CU merged with Millennium CU and Radford CU in 2003.  At the same time the common bond was extended to cover the entire west side of Coventry that enabled people who were previously excluded access to the services of a credit union.  By this time the Credit Union was based in St. Peter’s Centre, Hillfields. In 2006 with the support of European funding a move was made into City Arcade. In 2010 our common bond was extended to cover the whole of Coventry and Warwickshire.

Early in 2012 a transfer of engagement took place from New Way Credit Union, based in Atherstone, North Warwickshire to Coventry West Credit Union.  This merger allows people living in the rural area of North Warwickshire access to the services. In 2012 the name was changed  to New Central Credit Union Ltd. 


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