British Credit Union Historical Society

City of Plymouth Credit Union ltd

The West Plymouth Credit Union was officially registered in 1997. The common bond was limited to Mount Wise, Devonport, Keyham, Ford, Stoke and Pennycomequick. The common bond was expanded to include North Prospect, Ham, Camels Head, Peverell and Pennycross in 1999. By 2001 the office was established at 14 Cumberland Street, Devonport.  Accounts were computerised the following year and the first paid staff were employed. The common bond was again expanded in 2006 to include the whole of Plymouth and our name was changed to the City of Plymouth Credit Union. Plymouth City Council and Plymouth CityBus payroll deduction schemes launched in 2010 and 2011 saw the new website enabling online account access was launched. In October 2013 a brand, new city centre shop premises for the City of Plymouth Credit Union was unveiled. The shop at Frankfort Gate had been chosen so people could get easy access to the credit union and financial services. As of January 2016, the merger with HOPE Credit union was completed and membership has grown. The England Illegal Money Lending Team in partnership with City of Plymouth Credit Union granted the first 50 people to join the Credit Union before the end of November £25 from the proceeds of crime money, confiscated from convicted loan sharks to sponsor new Credit Union accounts. The new members must make at least three-monthly payments into their account to qualify for a savings boost.

Membership is available to anyone who lives or works within Devon, Cornwall or the Isles of Scilly and corporate bodies operating in the same geographical area.

Swan Credit Union Ltd.

Registered as Milton Keynes Credit Union Ltd in December 2004 serving the population of Milton Keynes merged with Aylesbury Credit Union who were established in January 2000 and trading in march 2013 as Thame community bank. changing the name to Swan Credit Union to reflect the new geographical area served. In 2013/14 the two separate CUs helped members by issuing more than 190 new loans to a value of over £190,000. Didcot Community bank came into being in April 2015 and so four community banks: MK Community Bank (Milton Keynes), Aylesbury Vale Community Bank, Thame Community Bank & Didcot Community Bank (both in South Oxfordshire) were now serving their respective communities. The credit union has been there to help their members who may have had to go to expensive high interest lenders. In the second year as Swan 2014 they issued 308 new loans to a total value of £301,000. September 2015, they had around 1,100 members and were looking after members’ savings of £555,000.

Cash Box Credit Union ltd

The Credit Union for Tameside Employees Limited in May 1995 and traded till May 2004/5 when the merger of several smaller local credit unions brought about the name Cash box and a community credit union for savings and loans, where members could pool their savings to lend to one another and help run the credit union. Members come from Tameside and Glossop; this is the common bond. Membership has grown over the years since the introduction of members living or working within the common bond. The credit union is regarded in its community as the fairest source of credit and has saved its members £495,000 in interest charges when compared to doorstep lenders’ rates. Phyllis Turner was invited to a garden party hosted by her Majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace in June 2018. Volunteers and staff members of Cashbox Credit Union attended in September the same year a special event at Gorton Monastery, where they were presented the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. The strength of Cashbox is the bond between many volunteers and a few paid staff.

Holdfast Credit Union Ltd.

Registered in December 1992

In 2002 Holdfast credit union celebrated 20 years of service to the members. In the beginning it was a small but significant local financial business started by a dedicated group of people to help people. Shares reached a couple thousand pounds and this allowed hundreds of pounds to be lent to members. Holdfast offers a wide range of accounts to both adults and children throughout the Witham area. The anniversary acknowledged the hard work done by both volunteers and the then three members of staff. Hold fast has an office in Newland Street but also outreach centre’s in Braintree, Greenfields, Kelvedon and local primary schools. The credit union is seen as a friendly place in the locality which is expanding rapidly. Open to members who live or work in Witham, Braintree, Maldon, Halstead, Coggeshill, Kelvedon, Great Dunmow, Tiptree & surrounding villages. The Credit union is one of three credit unions in Essex to join forces to form Credit Unions Together (CUT). A secondary co-operative cooperating to do things that help achieve their aims that they would not be able to do by themselves.

Blackpool Fylde and Wyre Credit Union Ltd


Blackpool Fylde and Wyre Credit Union Ltd

 The credit union was launched in a small council back office and registered in February 2008 Since February 2009 they have experienced steady growth, and now serve over 5000 members across the area with affordable loans and easy savings accounts. Accumulating over £5,000,000 in savings and issuing over £13,000,000 in affordable loans since the launch. In November 2017 the Credit Union, which also traded as Guild Money from March 2014 in Preston, has a brand-new name and a fresh new look as it seeks to help more people than ever before. CLEVR Money started trading in August 2017 was a move that signalled the start of a number of changes designed to improve customer services, launch new products, and help the business to grow. This Credit Union has become a vital source of savings and affordable credit to employees of 42 local employers through payroll deductions and to the wider community including those excluded from traditional banking, and its space in the market place has never been more needed and clearer. The expanded common bond and the launch of a highly professional branch right in the town centre. In the same period high interest lenders who surrounded the credit union like The Money Shop, Cheque Centre, Perfect Home and the log book loan company have closed down and left town. The likes of Brighthouse struggling to keep their doors open and even the giants like Wonga reportedly on the verge of bankruptcy following years of irresponsible lending.

CLEVR & CLEVR Money are registered trading names of Blackpool Fylde & Wyre Credit Union Limited.

Plane Saver Credit Union

Founded in 1993, Plane Saver is now one of the largest Credit Unions in the UK with over 9,500 members and having lent over £70million. Having provided financial services exclusively to British Airways staff for over 17 years, Plane Saver expanded its field of membership in 2010 to offer financial services to people employed in, or associated with, one of the following: –The Airline and Transport Industry, Logistics, Engineering, Police, Fire and Ambulance Services, The Armed Forces or a family member who is living in the same household as an existing member of Plane Saver Credit Union. The Credit Union in 2017 has introduced an automated SMS Survey. In order to help action and address member’s recommendations and improve the timeline towards planning decisions. With the help of two of their service providers, they have designed a tool to capture member feedback after every phone call received. Using this member centric approach means Plane Saver will receive continuous live feedback, allowing them to adjust their products and services to meet member needs. 2018 saw the credit union being nominated for the MoneyAge Awards celebrating excellence, professionalism and innovation in the financial industry. The board are extremely proud to be shortlisted for Ethical Financial Services Provider of the Year. It’s a reflection of the great work being done and really does help in raising  awareness to the positive impact credit unions are having within society. In December 2018 the Credit Union has received the Army Covenant Silver Award in recognition of their commitment to support Armed Forces personnel, their families and veterans. What makes the Silver award extra special is that it also comes at a time when the credit union is celebrating 25 years of operating as a Credit Union providing ethical finance solutions to workers in the military and airline industry and now the Armed Forces.



Eastern Savings & Loans

Eastern Savings and Loans was originally found in 2001, with the business developing today; we serve just over 3,000 members around Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. The experience of the past 15 years has formed quite a character of the Credit Union, Building strong long-term customer relationships. Three of the regions credit unions announce merger discussions in 2013 with the aim of building a bigger, stronger credit union delivering better services to members. These Credit Unions were Ipswich and Suffolk, Rainbow Savers Anglia and Norfolk to bring together the strengths of all three credit unions.

Ipswich and Suffolk ISCU is based in Ipswich but serves members across Suffolk with volunteer information points in Newmarket, Mildenhall, Haverhill, Bury St Edmunds, Woodbridge and Felixstowe. ISCU currently has 5,500 members.

Rainbow Saver Rainbow Saver Anglia has shops in Lowestoft and Peterborough, with volunteer run points in Wisbech, Halesworth, Cambridge, Thetford and Great Yarmouth. It currently has 4,500 members and offers a prepaid VISA Debit card alongside its savings accounts and loans.

Norfolk Norfolk Credit Union is based in Long Stratton and has a shop in Norwich, with volunteer run points in Aylsham, Attleborough, Cromer, Drayton & Taverham Area, Dereham, Diss, Downham Market, Fakenham, Harleston, Kings Lynn, Stalham, Thetford, Watton. NCU currently has 3,000 members.

The combined credit union would have an active membership of 13,000. In January 2014 A Transfer of engagements of Norfolk Credit Union was registered as having been transferred to ISCU. At the same time ISCU has been advised a rule change to extend the common bond to cover Norfolk was also been registered.

Eastern Savings and Loans welcomed Lisa Nandy MP, shadow minister for the Third Sector to the credit union. The Credit Union opens a new location on the high street in Ipswich Town Centre June 2014 and Barclays Bank with Eastern Savings and Loans Credit Union announce their joint community initiative. Barclays will be hosting Eastern Savings and Loans in the Red Lion Street Branch of Barclays for four afternoons per week from the 30th June 2014. 

Members of Cambridge City Credit Union are to become members of Eastern Savings and Loans. It is anticipated CCCU member accounts will be transferred to the ESLCU system over the second weekend in February 2015 and these members will then be able to register for online access to their accounts.


Berkshire Credit Union

Stephen Magee worked steadily to gather support from local organisations and in 2007 the Reading Credit Union began its operations when member number one was signed up.

The Reading Credit Union grew steadily and by early 2009 had over 400 saving members and a developing loans business. During this period many requests were received from other communities across the county of Berkshire to expand its area of operations. 

As a result in 2009, a Project Group was set up to expand the Reading Credit Union. The project successfully completed its work when in August 2010, Community Savings and Loans Ltd came into being. This new organisation, building outwards from Reading now covers all areas of Berkshire.

Contact e-mail  Ph. 01189585803


London Plus Credit Union

launched its services in November 2008 in the heart of Fulham. In our short existence we have grown tremendously and as such are delivering competitive and affordable products to our membership which is forever growing. We have adapted our reach in line with demand and need for the communities that we serve. Ten years on sees London Plus with over 60% of transactions now processed online. The contactless debit card works exactly as any high street bank card and being fully integrated means that they are becoming a one stop shop for all members.

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London Mutual Credit Union

Established in 1982 to provide Credit Union services to employees of the London Borough of Southwark It has merged with 6 of the local Credit Unions. Now it is the only Credit Union in Southwark, Lambeth, and Westminster & Camden providing wide range of products and services together with five dedicated branch offices where members could access the services. It was also the first credit union in the UK to operate a payroll deduction scheme.

2011/12 Saw the introduction of a fully automatic on-line payday loan alternative responding to the growing use of high cost credit it has saved the borrowers a tidy sum in interest rates and follow up to become members.   

As a full-service financial institution, London Mutual Credit Union (LMCU) is the largest live or work Credit Union in London, with over £19million in assets, and over 21,000 member-owners (September 2014). LMCU has 40 professional and knowledgeable employees, and is comprised of five branches and a head office in Peckham, London.  The new head office (pictured) building at 4 Heaton Road, Peckham was opened on the 24th February 2012. In 2016 London Mutual has also launched a new debit card programme, powered by Optimus Card Group. London Mutual says the new debit card scheme in partnership with MasterCard that brings true, fully functional debit cards to credit union members across the country.

In 2017 the credit union developed and implemented its own core banking system on line, telephone and mobile banking, the first credit union in England do so. The credit union is hoping in 2018 to be in a position to offer mortgages as the first credit union to do so in London and aspirations to take on the rent to own such as Bright House

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Crownsavers Credit Union

Crownsavers exists to encourage savings and provide access to low interest borrowing, enabling its members to save and prosper whilst promoting the ideas and ideals of financial co-operation within organisations in the Borough of Lewisham.

Lewisham Employees' Credit Union (Crownsavers) has been providing its services for 18 years. It was founded in July 1997 with the full support and a small grant from Lewisham Council to enable the Credit Union to offer an additional benefit to it’s employees, at the start the Credit Union was open just to those employees working for the Council. The Credit Union officially extended its common bond a few years later to include Lewisham University Hospital and Lewisham College.

In 2009 the credit union again extended its common bond to everyone employed in the London Borough of Lewisham.
Crownsavers now operates successfully, with current active membership of 1500 that includes growing family and junior account holders, members asset of over £1.8m and a loan portfolio of £1.4m.


Manchester Unity Credit Union Limited

Credit Unions in the Oddfellows

They were started in the Midlands in 1991 and grew until membership in 2001 was 180 They were followed by North London in 1994 with approximately 40 members but no growth by 2001 Yorkshire started with a savings group 1997. By this time the regulator, the Registrar of Friendly Societies was taking more interest and a two-year training programme was undertaken leading up to a two-hour interview with a representative of the registrar. They were finally registered in January 1999.

Late in 1999 Government announced that credit unions would come under the Financial Services Authority and with the increase in legislation which followed it became apparent that the three credit unions could not survive individually. Talks took place between the credit unions and the Board of the Oddfellows to seek their sponsorship which resulted in Manchester Unity Credit Union Ltd coming into being on 1st September 2001, with a common bond covering England, Scotland and Wales.

Membership today has passed the 600 mark and the Credit Union has its own administrator based in Manchester



National Fire Savers Credit Union

The National Fire Savers Credit Union was first established in 1998 as a credit union for London Fire Brigade staff (The London Fire Savers Credit Union). Here are some key dates and milestones in their development

January1998, Sub Officer John Etheridge forms group to establish a new credit union for London Fire Brigade.

June 1998, London Fire Savers Credit Union registered with Registrar of Friendlily Societies (No. 541C) and starts trading with 500 members.

September 1999, Assets exceed half a million pounds.

May 2000, First full time staff member recruited.

November 2001, FSA take over from Registrar of Friendly Societies as regulatory body. London Fire Savers Credit Union registered as No. 213995.

January 2001, the 1,000th member joins.

February 2009, Offices relocate to new LFB headquarters at Union Street

August 2009, new model rules registered with FSA.

 April 2010, National Fire Savers formed by the extension of common bond to include all fire & rescue authorities with England, Scotland & Wales.

September 2011, Assets exceed three million pounds.

May 2012, Offices relocate to Linton House, 164-180 Union Street and third full time member of staff recruited.

March 2013, Share deposits in NFS exceed four million pounds.

January 2014, offering their staff payroll deductions affiliates North Wales Fire & Rescue to the Credit Union.

 March 2014, Share deposits in NFS exceed five million pounds.


Northamtonshire Credit Union

Northamptonshire Credit Union

Began life as Northampton Credit Union in May 1997, offering services to the staff of Northampton Borough Council. It rapidly expanded to take in all people living or working in Northampton, merging with smaller credit unions as it grew. It was 2003 when the common bond was extended and covered the whole of Northampton allowing the merger of Heath Credit Union. 2010 with the help of funding from the DWP growth fund the credit union increased its membership, employed staff and moved to new premises. By 2012 the credit union expanded to cover the whole of Northamptonshire. In the spring of 2013, three credit unions in the county, namely the Northampton Credit Union, the Golden Sheaf Credit Union in Kettering and the Five Wells Credit Union in Wellingborough, merged to form the Northamptonshire Credit Union. At the same time the common bond was expanded to take in the Cherwell district of Oxfordshire. To help people across the catchment area to access the Credit Union's services, they ran various collection points in addition to the main access point at the One Stop Shop within Northampton's Guildhall. The credit union works in conjunction with East Midlands Credit Unions (EMCU) and especially Clockwise Credit Union to offer current accounts and budget accounts to all members. Further expansion of the common bond in 2016 covered parts of Oxfordshire Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire and mergers took place with Weston Favell & District Credit Union, (Northampton) and Blackbird Leys Credit Union (Oxford).  In celebration of the 20th anniversary 2017 and in recognition of the expanded area, the credit union has taken on a new name and logo “HARVEST MONEY”.  with more than 7,000 Members an estimate that in the last five years alone have saved members more than £1.4 million in interest payment. 2017 also the credit union has also issued loans totalling £752,000 during the year and signed up 771 new members. 

Hoot Credit Union

Bolton’s Quids In Credit Union was with the support of Bolton MBC and partly financed by European Union money, the organisation opened for business in February 2005.

Just months after its launch, Quids In merged with the long-established Johnson Fold Credit Union to create a borough-wide organisation

It enrolled its 1000th member days before its first anniversary in 2006, making it one of the fastest growing credit unions in the UK, and later that year joined a Government-backed scheme enabling it to offer instant loans to members without the prior requirement to serve a qualifying membership period.

The credit union paid its first dividend on members' savings in 2007 and that summer was named Community Business of the Year at the Bolton and Bury Business Awards, providing official recognition and endorsement of its work in tackling financial exclusion in the borough.

In 2008, membership topped the 3,000 mark and the total loaned to its members passed the £1 million milestone.

In 2009, Bolton MBC transferred its lead role in sponsoring the credit union to an associate organisation, Bolton at Home, which entered into partnership agreement to provide it with advice, support and resources. Later that year, in order to help broaden its appeal, Quids In was rebranded as Hoot - wise with money.

In 2010, the credit union with the support of Bolton at Home won a funding bid from Barclays Community Finance Initiative, which provided the credit union with funding to develop the project.

In July 2013 the membership criteria for the credit union was expanding to include people from Bury and parts of Salford, Wigan and Blackburn.

Hoot in 2015 invited its founding members to celebrate the credit union’s 10th birthday, including “member number 1” Frank White and another of the first savers Gail Battersby.

2016  Hoot officially awarded Fairbanking Mark a five star rating to their personal loan products 

Co-operative Credit Union

Formed in 1998 the Co-operative Credit Union was set up for co-operative group employees and their families. It is now open to employees and pensioners of a range of co-operative organisations all across the United Kingdom. Changes in legislation gave a lot more flexibility about who could join and who could not. The Credit Union received a large award of £100,000 in 2014 to support their reserves and allow them to investigate the feasibility of their plans for growth. The credit union was seeking to extend its membership beyond employees of the Co-operative Group to allow it to serve people employed by or associated with a wide range of organisations in the co-operative and third sector. The Co-operative Credit Union now serves members of the USDAW shop workers trade union, members of the National Association of Co-operative Officials, members of the Co-operative Party, and employees of the mid counties Co-operative Society as well as 8 other new partner organisations. As a result, the credit union added more than 1,000 new members in a year – an increase of more than 20% – and is well on its way to reaching its ambitious target of 10,000 members in 2017.

After 20 years of dedicated service to the sector, CCU now has seven members of staff and 25 volunteers helping sustain the credit union. At the 2018 AGM, CCU reported on their end of year finances and announced to members that they had managed over £5m of members savings and given out loans of £2.5 m. Celebrating their 20th anniversary year of operation pride was expressed that from a relatively modest beginning the credit union has grown into a thriving operation, serving the needs of more than 8,000 members, and their families, drawn from a range of co-operative and mutual organisations across the UK. As part of its 20th anniversary, a credit union pioneer is recognised for his contribution to the movement and awards the Graham Southall Award for passionate support and volunteering for the credit union to Charles Sim. Mr Sim has been involved in the credit union sector for over 25 years and is chair of the Supervisory Committee of the Co-operative Credit Union.

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Castle & Cristal Credit Union

Established in September 1993, Castle & Crystal was originally an employee based credit union, operating for the benefit of Dudley MBC employees. Twenty years later, our services have now become widely available to everyone living or working within the Dudley borough, the county of Worcestershire and to partner organisations that are included in our Common Bond. The future vision is to have a branch in each of the four main townships in the borough of Dudley, namely Dudley, Stourbridge, Halesowen & Brierley Hill and also a number of branches across the county of Worcestershire.

The head office in Dudley services the needs of our 4000 active members, who come from all walks of life & enjoy the same standard of excellent customer service during every visit. Castle and Crystal has taken advantage of recent changes in legislation meaning credit unions can now offer corporate accounts to organisations as well as individuals. During 2013, Castle & Crystal have welcomed over £100,000 in investments from local organisations, community groups & churches alike. Their investment into the credit union will increase the supply of affordable credit providing competitive savings and loans for the members. This ultimately continues to help the economic development and stability of communities within the local area regardless of location.  The Mayor of Dudley, Councillor Steve Waltho, marked the achievement of serving its 10,000th member with a special presentation in April 2016.


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18.08 | 14:55

I am very proud to be a part of the credit union and the ethos of people helping people.

Congratulations to No1 CopperPot.

14.07 | 04:57

A very inspiring and educational experience. It awaken my interest to serve the community.

01.07 | 13:06

As schools Development Worker for Unify Credit Union, I found the schools project resources very useful.... some really good ideas, Thank you x

14.01 | 10:46
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