British Credit Union Historical Society

A National League of Leagues

The first serious talk of an Australia wide association of credit unions occurred in 1965 during the running of the first Australia-wide credit union school administered by the NSW Credit Union League (NSWCUL) in conjunction with CUNA Mutual, the international credit union body based in the United States. It was during the running of the credit union school in 1965 that the man who would eventually go on to be the first leader of AFCUL, Stan Arneil, would lecture on the importance of a Federal Credit Union Act and also the need for the state leagues to be affiliated with CUNA. The matter was discussed frequently during the remainder of the school and it was agreed that a Federation must be formed as quickly as possible”. The Queensland and NSW Leagues took the ball and ran with it and submitted draft constitutions for a national association to their boards for consideration. Things moved quickly from there, after draft constitutions for a national body were presented to the Queensland and NSW Leagues in April 1966, the Inaugural Conference of the Australian Federation of Credit Union Leagues was held just a month later on the 7th May 1966 in Sydney.

Picyure Australian Federation of Credit Union Leagues AGM, 1970

Credit Unions in Australia

The formation of Australia’s first authentic credit union in 1946 was the Catholic Thrift and Loan Co-Operative (renamed in 1948 as Universal Credit Union), Sydney NSW. 1948 Co-operative Thrift & Loan Society was the first credit union in Queensland and in1949 the first credit society registered in South Australia – SA Public Service Savings & Loans Society Ltd. and the postal Workers Co-op Credit Society also in 1949.

In the 1950s Approximately 40 credit unions registered in NSW, also, credit union chapters in ’51 the Australian Antigonish Movement launched (parish based) by Fr. Jack (John) Gallagher. YCW Central Co-operative Credit Society was the first credit union registered in Victoria in ‘54 and the first credit societies registered in Tasmania and Victoria. The first inclusive credit union representative body in Australia, NSW Savings & Loans Co-operative Associations was in ’56. In March ‘57 North Canberra Credit Union Co=operative and in April South Canberra Credit Union Co-operative were established. The first credit union registered in Tasmania Glenorchy Credit Union Co-operative Society, then Launceston Central Co-operative Credit Society followed by Hobart & District Credit Co-operative Society in1958.

The’ 60 was when the first credit union registered in Western Australia – ABC Staff Association (WA) Co-operative Credit Society. 1963 Queensland Co-operative Credit Union League (QCUL) launched and 1965 Tasmanian Credit Union League (TASCUL) formed. 1966 Victorian Credit Co-op Association (VCCA) formed Australian Federation of Credit Union Leagues (AFCUL) formed, Credit Union League of South Australia (CULSA) formed, Western Australia Credit Union League (WACUL) formed.

The 1970s First credit union registered in Northern Territory, Credit Union Foundation Australia (CUFA) formed by AFCUL. Savings Protection Fund set up by NSW Credit Union League and cash withdrawals permitted in NSW. Queensland Teachers Credit Union installed the first 24-hour ATM in a retail outlet in Australia. Credit Union Association of Western Australia (CUAWA) formed. The Institute of Credit Union Directors (ICUD) was formed in NSW in 1978 followed by the Australian Council of CUES, and the Federation of Queensland Credit Unions.

The 1980s Australian Institute of Credit Union Managers (AICUM) formed. Association of Tasmanian Credit Unions (ATCU) formed and NSW credit union associations merged to form Association of NSW Credit Unions (ANSWCUL Credit Union ATM Network established and Mortgage secured/line of credit/overdraft introduced. Also, Australian credit unions were the first to offer payment of public utility accounts over the phone using a debit Credit Union Financial Services of Australia Ltd (CUFSAL) officially launched AFCUL decided to review the governance and management of the Credit Union movement which lead to the establishment of Project Renewal which began in 1989.

The 1990s National Credit Union Association formed. Australian Financial Institutions Commission (AFIC) established as a central supervising body for non-bank financial institutions. Credit Union Services Corporation (Australia) Ltd (CUSCAL) established – the peak industry body for credit unions in Australia. In 93 AFIC legislation passed in all States. A credit union from New South Wales was the first retail financial institution to achieve quality certification under ISO9000. CreditCare established nationally by Commonwealth Government and credit unions to assist rural and remote communities to regain convenient access to retail financial services. Australian Institute of Credit Union Directors (AICUD) formed.

1996 Australian Credit Union Movement celebrated its Jubilee 50 years of credit unions in Australia.  Dr. Gary Lewis’ book “People before Profit-the credit union movement in Australia” launched by CUSCAL. Credit Union Dispute Resolution Centre Pty Ltd was established by CUSCAL to assist credit unions and their members to resolve complaints, externally. A Newcastle, NSW credit union was the first Australian financial institution to combine the functions of a stored value card with a debit card. In ‘97 the Wallis Report on the Australian Financial System proposed that credit unions, building societies and banks should operate under a single, national regulatory regime. Cheque issuing rights for credit unions approved by Federal Parliament. 1999 saw Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) formally certified the Industry Support Contract for the credit union Financial Support Scheme (CUFFS) to replace the Emergency Liquidity Support Scheme and Contingency Funds. Credit unions were authorized under the Banking Act as Authorised Deposit-taking Institutions (ADIs) and became companies limited by shares under the Corporations Law.

Financial Services Reform (FSR) Act passed by Federal Parliament in 2001 

Romanian visit 2018

A great welcome to the North West. on Sunday was facilitated by Paul Jones of Liverpool John Moore’s University and Martin Logan of Voyager Alliance Credit Union.
Once again in June.2018, a group of Romanian credit union people came to Liverpool for a week of training and knowledge exchange. The week began on Monday June 11th at the John Moors university and ended with an invitation to the group to participate in the Northwest Forum social event on Saturday 16th June. Tremendous support and involvement was given by credit unions around Liverpool and Manchester.  Andy Davey from the Co-operative Credit Union giving a talk on financial education Marie from Lodge Lane Credit Union and Rob and Geoff from Central Liverpool Credit Union gave gave presentations on their respective credit union. Christine Moore, executive director of Manchester Credit Union gave a talk on being a director of a credit union. Caroline and Lisa, executive directors of No1 Copperpot Credit Union gave their excellent presentation on the management of risk. Dan Arrowsmith, policy officer at Association of British Credit Unions Ltd., gave a talk on credit union legislation and regulation to the Romanian CAR officials. 

The EU-funded project was in partnership with Romanian credit unions and Italian co-operators. The project aimed to develop governance training materials for British and Romanian credit unions, and financial education training materials - particularly for low income individuals. There was a small group of co-operative educators from Italy who participated on the Friday sessions.

Click on the Link to view Photos and Presentations  

Credit unions’ reach within Europe

Credit unions trace their roots to the humble beginning in 19th century Europe. Franz Hermann Schulze-Delitzsch established the first credit unions in the 1850s in Germany to give those lacking access to financial services the opportunity to borrow from the savings pooled by themselves and their fellow members. Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen transported the financial cooperative concept to rural Germany a decade later.

Today in 2016, credit unions operate in a number of European countries including in the Republic of Ireland, Estonia, Romania, Poland, the United Kingdom and Macedonia. Credit unions make an important contribution to the European social economy by supporting thousands of communities and more than 7 million European households with affordable financial services.


Romanian Credit Union History

Credit unions have a long history in Romania - there are about 2,000 credit unions at the moment, many of which are members of UNCAR, their largest trade association. Credit unions started in Romania in the late 19th century , and grew strongly during the period between the two world wars.  During the communist period, credit unions were in fact encouraged and in many industrial sectors credit union membership was mandatory.  Since the fall of communism, credit unions are having to compete in a more complex financial market place and hence their interest in learning from other countries.  Credit union legislation and regulation differs between UK and Romania - an issue that will be looked at on the visit.  There are about 1 million members of UNCAR credit unions - plus another 1.5 million members of pensioner credit unions but these operate under a different law.

Romanian Credit Unions visit the Northwest Credit Unions

The visit of our Romanian credit union friends to Liverpool, Manchester and Lancashire in June and Novemberof 2015 turned out to be a fantastic and overwhelming experience of international co-operation, collaboration and friendship.
Thanks must go to everyone who took part and who welcomed the visitors so warmly.  There were so many people involved in the 14 credit unions that took part, in the local authorities that welcomed the visitors and in the school in Liverpool that put on such a tremendous reception and the speakers at the events.  We certainly demonstrated the extent and the depth of a real credit union welcome. The Romanians were overwhelmed with the kindness and warmth of the welcome and they really do want our credit union people to visit them in Romania in return.  Let’s hope that that might be possible

Letter of Thanks from Romanania



April 2016 Northwest Trip to Romania

The exchange visit Organized by the National Association of Credit Unions of Employees in Romania under the motto "Improving Lives through credit unions" was held in Romania from 11 to 17 April 2016. Participants: credit unions from North West of England and credit unions from counties Arges, Brasov, Bucharest, Dolj, Hunedoara, Mures, Prahova, Valcea as well as territorial credit unions.

It was a real example of regional and international credit union collaboration and friendship and was just what being in the credit union movement  is all about.  We learnt so much from one another and from our Romanian friends and colleagues.  The association and collaboration with Romania may it continue into the future.  It is a lovely country, with great people and with a co-operative finance sector committed to the same values and principles as in the United Kingdom.  Hopefully more can be acheived on governance and on a worker exchange programme. Participants came home feeling very privileged, inspired and proud to have taken part in such an amazing trip.  

Open the link below and explore a wonder ful experience 

Kenyan Credit Unions

SACCOS are voluntary associations where by members regularly pool their savings, and subsequently members may obtain loans which they may use for different purposes. Generally, the idea behind establishment of SACCOS is to promote savings and make credits available to the members. SACCOS are the important microfinancing institutions for mobilization of financial resources for various development activities, particularly in rural areas; where majority of both Kenya and Tanzania reside, and earn their livelihood from agriculture. In Africa, the idea of saving and credit societies was first described and discussed in 1955 in Jipara, a small town the upper west town of Ghana, the idea was brought by the Roman Catholic priest, Father John McNulty from Ireland. He decided to assist his village to form a saving and co-operative, he then trained 60 people mainly teachers. The success Jipara story has been widely replicated throughout the African continent.

Delegates from Kenyan Credit Unions have been visiting the UK movement for some time now and to Rochdale home of the Co-Operative. Credit union in the UK have welcomed them over the years.

There are 5,769 credit unions in Kenya, serving 5.4 million members, which is more than one fifth of the population and they have assets worth more than £4.3 billion

Photos:-Right Click  and Open Link in new tab  

Brazilian Credit Unions

Sicredi is one of the largest cooperative financial institutions in Brazil.  It is made by people and for people, and now has over 3,5 million members and a comprehensive portfolio of banking products and services. 

A delegation from the Brazilian co-operative and credit union movement visited Manchester as part of a 9-day study trip organised with the Co-operative College in May 2017.

Martin Logan of the British Credit Union Historical Society said after his presentation on the British movement “Co-operation is what credit unions are good at, at local level, at national level and above all at international level.”

Brazil is home to one of the world’s largest and fastest growing credit union movements. 582 credit unions serve 6.3 million members across the country, and the sector’s assets are worth over £21 billion.

Phoyos:- Open link in new tab 

Brazilian Visit May 2019

A second delegation from the Brazilian co-operative credit union movement visited Manchester as part of a study trip organised with the Co-operative College on the 20th of May 2019. Martin Logan of the British Credit Union Historical Society gave a talk on the history of the British Movement and Jim Clancy website co-ordinator introduced delegates to the Historical Society’s website of approximately 465 credit unions and the resources that can be downloaded and adapted to suit their own needs. A visit to Rochdale Pioneer History Museum took place on the 21st in the afternoon with a talk on the history of Rochdale at the time and how the first co-operative came about in 1844. The visit to Metro Moneywise Credit union followed at their Headquarters at Globe house. A short video was shown of the credit union signing up members in 1990 at the old co-op building they had just visited. The presentation by Ciara the CEO was received with great interest and followed with a lot of questions and answers of which the interpreter handle nicely. The statistics presented was of most interest to a number of the delegates.

Nepal Federation of Savings and Credit Cooperative Unions Ltd.

(NEFSCUN), is the member based national apex organization of Savings and Credit Cooperative Societies (SACCOS) and their District Unions (DUs) is committed to the development, promotion and strengthening of its member organizations through supporting SACCOS and DUs in their aim to contribute for the upliftment of financial, social cultural aspiration of individual members of respective community. NEFSCUN follows the credit union principles propounded by World Council of Credit Union (WOCCU) in 1984. On their visit to Manchester  organised with the Co-operative College in August 2017 the society gave a presentation led by Martin Logan Voyager Alliance Credit Union giving a history of the movement in Britain and followed by Jim Clancy Metro Moneywise Credit Union exploring the society web site. 

Follow the link for more info  

2nd Nepal Visit January 2018

The start of 2018 on January the 23rd the Historical Society gave a presentation to delegates from the co-operative movement of Nepal. This was at the invitation of the Co-op college in Manchester Martin Logan Voyager Alliance Credit Union, followed by Jim Clancy Metro Moneywise Credit Union gave a talk on the British credit union movement. This also included a journey around the Historical societies website encouraging delegates to explore the website for their own credit unions. Whilst there was a bigger language barrier with this group Steve from the Co-op College said “We believe we have delivered a good study visit for them so they are going home with new ideas and an awareness of how the UK movement operates”. During the last session with the college, the group leader read out a pre-prepared statement that thanked everyone involved in helping them during their stay and highlighting how important this visit has been to help them continue vital work back home, during his speech he made reference to credit unions a number of times so that gives a good indication all was delivered what they wanted. In the photo on the far left is Steve Kingman Business Support Manager from the Co-op College. Steve welcomed them to Manchester and arranged the program for the stay in Manchester. The next stop was to Scotland before heading back home.



3rd Visit from Nepal

 Visitors from Nepal September 2019

A delegation from the Nepal co-operative and credit union movement visited Manchester as part of a study trip organised with the Co-operative College in September 2019. Martin Logan of the British Credit Union Historical Society said after his presentation on the British movement “Co-operation is what credit unions are good at, at local level, at national level and above all at international level.” Nepal is home to a fast-growing credit union movement.

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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

23.11 | 16:41
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