British Credit Union Historical Society

Adventist Credit Union Ltd

In 1984, a group of concerned Seventh-day Adventist men (Sam Cozier, Keith Davidson, Osrique DeCoteau, Lambert John, Algernon Joseph, Andrew Joseph, Alfred Officer, Martin Rodney, James Ryan and Livingston Weekes), encouraged by Pastor Everett Howell, decided to act to encourage fellow Seventh-day Adventists across London to take on a new vision of wealth development in an effort to build the economic strength of our people. On 27 May 1984, the LONDON ADVENTIST SAVINGS CLUB was born, determined to challenge their members into a renewed and disciplined approach to saving.  By November 1984, the club’s assets had grown to £1,287.64. Only 4 years later in 1988, the decision was taken to upgrade the Savings Club to Credit Union status, and on 11 March 1988, The Adventist Savings Club became The NORTH LONDON ADVENTIST CREDIT UNION LTD (NACU), and under the chairmanship of the late Osrique DeCoteau, NACU was registered under the Registrar of Friendly Societies (no. 101C). At accounting year end, 30 September 1992, by then under the chairmanship of Alfred Officer, NACU’s total net assets stood at £209,309. By the first quarter of 2001, the credit union territory was expanded and its name changed to   The LONDON ADVENTIST CREDIT UNION LTD (LACU). Then, in recognition of the credit union’s new UK status, at the ACU Annual General Meeting held on 22 May 2016, the members voted to change the organisation’s name to THE ADVENTIST CREDIT UNION LTD (ACU).



HarlowSave Credit union Ltd.

 Began as Harlow Credit Union registered in February 1981, Harlow District Council Credit Union began in May 1988 and Harlow Co-Operatives Credit Union Limited in January 1992 all got together with one other to form Harlowsave credit union in early 2002. This created a stronger, more sustainable organisation to serve Harlow. Harlowsave currently has just over 1,500 members and is run by a team of 8 permanent staff, 8 volunteers and 7 volunteer directors. In February 2015 launched CU Loans Local which was attended by Robert Halfon MP and local retailers. The feedback from retailers was very positive. The same retailers offer Harlowsave members a 10% discount on purchases. The credit union has paid an annual dividend in 2016 and 2017 at 0.5% which is equal to current bank base rates. Harlowsave is a founder member of CUT (Credit Unions Together) a secondary co-operative as a way for a group of Credit Unions to do things that help achieve their aims that they would not be able to do by themselves. 

South Tyneside Credit Union Ltd

Stems from The Nook Credit Union Ltd in May 1991discussuins took place and registering on the 3rd of July 2003 started trading in February 2011 as Bridges Your Community Bank. In September 2016 they rebranded to become First for Money – Your Credit Union reflecting the strong community values and ethical, transparent nature for the future. The decision to rebrand the organisation was driven by the results of a series of focus groups in 2016, attended by both members and non-members of Bridges Your Community Bank. The new brand encapsulates First for Money’s dedication to providing an ethical way to managing savings and loans for both businesses and individuals.  The website had an overhaul to reflect the new brand and demonstrate the full range of services on offer to members. The website now offers more in terms of functionality – including a loan calculator with a slider to help customers determine the value of a loan from First for Money. Anyone who lives and works in Tyne and Wear, County Durham and Northumberland is eligible to join First for Money – Your Credit Union.

West Cumbria credit Union LTD

The establishment of Cleator moor & district cu grew from a joint Church initiative in 1994.The aim was to provide an alternative financial service locally that would help break the cycle and high level of dependency of families and individuals on doorstep and other unscrupulous lenders operating in the community. The credit union was legally registered in October 1995. In 2014 the credit union, in order to safeguard and ensure its ongoing financial self-sustainability, successfully sought approval to extend its common bond area to enable it to offer membership and access to its products and services to anyone living or working in the Borough of Copeland. At the end of September 2014, had over 1,600 members and since 1995 have approved 6,020 loans to members amounting to more than 5 million pounds. Going forward the aim to maintain and enhance the current financial self-sustainability through increased membership and the uptake of our products and services. The credit union committed to working in partnership with other local credit unions to help promote and sustain the long-term survival and expansion of the credit union movement throughout the whole of Cumbria. In the year 2000 the Maryport and North Allerdale Credit Union was launched and a couple of years later, in 2002, Workington & District Credit Union was registered. All of these Credit Unions were built and run by local people who were passionate about getting a better deal for their communities. Their aim was to provide an alternative financial service locally that would help break the cycle and high level of dependency of families and individuals on doorstep and other unscrupulous lenders operating in the community. It was important to safeguard the future of these organisations and on the 1st October 2015 these Credit Unions, recognising their common cause, merged to form the West Cumbria Credit Union. The credit union is tremendously proud of their beginnings and the volunteers who worked to build those organisations. Moving forward under the new Affinity brand and remaining true to the same values at the beginning; the credit union continues to provide fair and affordable loans and secure, ethical savings to members.Affinity a credit union for West Cumbrians with only one thing in mind: providing secure, ethical savings and fair, affordable loans for local people.


My Community Bank England

has grown out of a credit union called Brent Shrine Credit Union, which was first formed in 1979 to serve people living or working in the London Borough of Brent. Now an online Credit Union serving communities across the UK. My Community Bank is one of the three credit unions which form the My Community Bank network covering England, Scotland and Wales. In 2013 the common bond was extended to include members and supporters of the “British” South Asian Community across the UK. My Community Bank is as British as curry. Open nationwide to all who are members of associations concerned with the culture, cuisine, finance or welfare of the South Asian community in the UK. 2017/8 the common bond has been extended further to cover anyone who is a member of Financial Education and Awareness. FEA is a new charity who aim to help people educate themselves in how to be financially responsible, independent and improve their financial well-being. The charity focuses on self-help and learning to improve people’s financial well-beingmembership of FEA is free and is open to the general public

West Leeds and Bramley Credit Union Ltd

The original credit union was based in Bramley, where it’s been running successfully since 1992 and registerd in June 1994. it extended its common bond to include most of West Leeds and Pudsey in August 2015. Anyone who lives or works in West Leeds and Pudsey can become a member so can any of the family living at the same address. The Credit Union is run by volunteers, and is a savings club and community bank for local people. The office is in Bramley Community Shop in Bramley Shopping Centre on Tuesdays, Thursdays and the first Saturday of every month from 10am–12pm. 


The credit union was formed in 2013 by the merger of a number of smaller North East based Credit Unions. Durham Cestria and Gateshead Credit Union following the amalgamation of Durham City Credit Union, Teesdale Credit Union, Cestria Credit Union and Gateshead First Credit Union, between them they have more than 20 years’ experience of managing a Credit Union. NEFirst Credit Union covers the whole of the North East, including County Durham, Northumberland and all of the boroughs that make up Tyne and Wear (Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland, North Tyneside and South Tyneside). Anyone who lives or works in this area is eligible to join. The merger of Prince Bishops Community Bank from the 1st of April 2018 will resulted in a larger Credit Union with over 16,000 members, shares of more than £4.5M and a loan book in excess of £3.5M.  It will operate throughout the North East and provide a range of products for savers and borrowers. Together the credit unions are far stronger together it will consolidate and strengthen the Credit Union movement in the North East as a whole, and especially in Country Durham. 

Knowsley Mutual Credit Union Ltd

Knowsley Mutual (KMCU), formerly Northwood CU, has been serving the community of Kirkby since 1990, in the 1990’s Kirkby was served by four credit unions, Northwood, Southdene, West vale and Towerhill, KMCU is one of two remaining of the four credit unions. In 2007 Northwood Credit Union had an active membership of 205; growth had peaked, the board agreed in order to grow and develop it was important to extend services to the wider community. In order to achieve this goal, it was identified the need for the common bond extension, central premises and staff. Therefore in 2007 the board of the then Northwood CU successfully applied to the Big lottery to fund a three-year project with the focus of growth in both membership and loan book in order to realise a sustainable credit union. The main project outcome was to achieve membership growth from 205 to 3,000 by 2010. Growth expectations surpassed but sustainability was still yet to be realised. Until August 2007 the credit union was managed solely by volunteers, 20 in total, over the years volunteer representation declined with sole focus at board level, all operational matters led by the manager and supported by 6 paid members of staff. Since 2007 KMCU has changed name twice and merged twice, mergers with West vale CU in 2009 and Fazakerley CU 2015 Like most credit unions KMCU has embraced the opportunity to offer a range of loan and savings products, involved, albeit in latter stages of DWP Growth fund, this provided KMCU with the platform, along with the changes in the interest cap, to realise the opportunity to become a sustainable business. Knowsley MCU has a wide common bond to include Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton and West Lancashire, with offices in Kirkby, Fazakerley, Netherton and Skelmersdale. As of September 25th, 2017, KMCU had a membership of 9581 of these 4260 active, combined loan books of £1,139,365 generating £357,700 income.

Greenwich & Bexley Credit Union

The organisation started in 1998 as Timeline Credit Union Ltd providing services for Greenwich Council employees and pensioners. In 2004 they merged with the Greenwich Waterfront Credit Union and began offering services to everyone living or working in Greenwich and Thamesmead, and changed the name to Greenwich Credit Union Ltd. In 2012 they adopted new rules to allow people living or working in Bexley to join and also to permit organisations as members. Changing again the trading name to Greenwich & Bexley Credit Union. June 2017, there was 7,600 adult members, 420 junior savers, a loan portfolio of £5.3m and £8m of members’ savings. In total they have loaned over £33m to local residents and employees.

Salford Credit Union Ltd

First was registered in September 1988 as a local credit union called Mandley Park Savings and Credit Union Limited. River Valley Credit Union began in January 2000 and after 12 years the two credit unions after a lot of discussion and to better serve the community merged to become Salford Credit Union. The registration was completed on the 6th of July 2012. The Credit Union serves everyone who lives or works in Salford and have recently extended their common bond to include anyone who is a member or either Unite the Union, or Unison and lives or works in the North West. The credit union has successfully piloted a scheme for junior members and their parents in Moorfield School in Irlam. The school runs its own collection point twice a week. A Child Benefit Loan Has also been delivered whereby members were able to apply for a loan of £300 upon joining, payable by deduction of Child Benefit at £9.00 per week over 38 weeks. The cost to the member was £42.30 over that period and proved to be very successful. Members are offered a Credit Union Prepaid Card the CredEcard is a flexible, Visa Prepaid Card from Contis Group, the card has been designed exclusively for credit union members and is a pay as you go debit card.  2014 saw the credit union taking part in the Video “The Actress and the Bishop” on the Credit Union Bus tour around Greater Manchester. Featuring Moorhouse primary school where children participate in their credit union. The Credit Union has helped save its members £1million, gaining more than 2,000 members since 2012.

Ciba Water Treatments Credit Union Limited

Workers at Bradford's Ciba Speciality Chemicals Registered the credit union on the 16th of April 1999. Chairman Charlie Boyle said the Ciba Water Treatments Credit Union Ltd would offer the loans at a fixed interest rate of one per cent a month in line with Whitehall rules. They had been saving together and when they got enough assets to cover the running costs of the office and the registration fees they were allowed to go ahead with granting loans. Ciba has given the Union an office and equipment to run the scheme within the site as well as time for the staff to run it. The Credit Union is one of only a handful in the Bradford area which are employee based and looking at it as being a positive employee benefit. Ciba's head of human resources - and a member himself - said: "It's very much something that employees and management have co-operated on very effectively.”

Bradford & District Credit Union Ltd.

Started in in 1993 as Council Employee Credit Union. Since 2003 changed to be open to anyone who lives or works in Bradford District. They now have over 6000 members/savers with new credit union collection points opening up in communities all across Bradford. Partnered with local community organisations, a network of community centres, schools and social landlords to promote financial inclusion with ‘jargon buster’ workshops that explains common but little understood terms like APR, Payday loans and credit score. The credit union works with the Church of England to run LifeSavers, a children's saving club teaching children the value of a strong savings habit. The club is funded by the Church of England and the Government. The Credit Union has increased its partnerships with Muslim organisations to become a ‘faith-friendly’ union, which means that Muslim savers with the credit union will not have to take interest on their savings, as they would with other non-Islamic financial organisations.

LASER Credit Union Ltd

LASER Credit Union Ltd was established in February 2003 to benefit the community of the Borough of Rotherham, by offering smart savings and affordable loans. LASER stands for Loans and Savings Enterprise Rotherham. To be able to apply for products and services from LASER you need to live OR work in South Yorkshire or North-East Derbyshire, or be a member or employee of one of the following organisations: Community the Union, The British Chambers of Commerce, NCVO all can be anywhere in the UK. UNISON members in Yorkshire and Humberside can also join. Families living at the same address as a member of a LASER Member are also entitled to apply for membership, including children from 0 to 16 years. LASER Credit Union officially opened its new town centre premises in June 2011 at the Old Town Hall in Effingham Street. The Credit Union has been helping the people who live and work in the Borough of Rotherham for 10 years. To celebrate this achievement, Members were invited to join staff and board members to mark the momentous milestone at the office in The Old Town Hall in March 2013. In August 2016 the Bank of England reduced the Base Rate by 0.25% and as a result of this change, the credit union reduced the interest rate on Premier Deposit Accounts by 0.25% from 1.75% to 1.5%., they also reduced the interest rate on Premier Savings Accounts from 2.0% to 1.75%. LASER Credit Union was one of 31 credit unions to join the first wave of a major project set to transform the credit union sector over two years. The Credit union moved to a new base at 2 Effingham Square, S65 1AP in November 2016. 

Westcountry Savings and Loans Ltd

Began as Western Super Mare & District credit union registered in January 2004. June 2009 with a change of common bond started trading as North Somerset credit union. The credit union name changed to Somerset Savings and Loans in January 2013 and membership increased. In June 2017 a new name was designed Westcountry Savings and Loans to more accurately reflect the new membership area to better reflect the area served, which stretches from Bath in the east to Plymouth in the west. The credit union has been stepping up its efforts in hard-pressed communities, reducing people's dependency on doorstep and payday loan companies. The credit union operates drop-in centres in Weston-Super-Mare, Yeovil and Taunton as well as running sessions in a number of villages. Members need to live or work in Somerset, Devon or Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Due to an unprecedented period of lending the credit union in 2018 is aiming to raise £100, 000 of new deposits by issuing a new cash ISA with an interest rate of 1. 5% AER. It's a fixed term product over two years.  It is the first foray for the credit union into paying interest rather than a dividend. Members can save up to £20,000 in 2018 tax year into a cash ISA

Stroud Valleys Credit Union Ltd

The Credit Union, which was established 1999 to provide a sustainable money management service. Aimed at those who are excluded from mainstream banks and building societies it gives its 550 members, who are aged four to 76, the chance to save and take out low interest loansThe credit union has branches throughout Stroud district including The Shambles, the Chipping Club Room in Wotton, Berkeley Town Hall and The Arkell Community Centre in Forest Green.

The Wotton Community Bank is what used to be the town’s branch of the Stroud Valleys Credit Union, but has now been reformed.

Through the summer and autumn of 2016 Stroud Valleys Credit Union put on eight performances of Saved!, a drama loosely based in the traditions of the mummers/pantomime/European street theatre. Written by local wordy Jonny Fluffypunk, Saved! lays bare the world of tight domestic finance, the temptations of easy loans and the dramas played out daily in the residential streets of everywhere.

Stroud Valleys Credit Union" has been nominated in the Best Community Project category of the Stroud Community TV Awards 2017. 

MoneyWise Credit Union Ltd

Started up in 1990 as a Workplace Credit Union, the “Newcastle City Council Employees Credit Union” and registered in June 1991 expanding to include councillors, the entire workforce of Newcastle city council and associated bodies such as the Tyne Tunnel, the Theatre Royal, and trade union staff. In August 2003, the credit union registered Moneywise Newcastle Credit Union Ltd and included anyone living or working In Newcastle upon-Tyne and Long Benton. Since June 2011 the credit union began trading as MoneyWise Credit Union and since then it has merged with several smaller Credit Unions and study groups and expanded to cover Tyne and Wear and County Durham. Now the leading Credit Union in North East England, offering low cost loans and accessible savings to residents and workers in Tyne and Wear and County Durham in 2017 reaching £3 Million in member deposits.

Clockwise Credit Union Ltd

Highfields Community Credit Union was later to become Clockwise Credit Union was founded in 1992 as an anti-poverty initiative of local churches based at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church. The credit union’s founder was Fr John Lally who returned to a celebration of Clockwise Credit Union’s contribution to the local community over the past 25 years and the official opening of its refurbished head office branch in the centre of Leicester. The credit union serves anyone who lives or works in the city of Leicester, Leicestershire or Rutland, and runs community access points in Loughborough, Syston, Melton Mowbray, Coalville, Hinckley, Wykin and Earl Shilton. In 2007 this extended to the county including Leicestershire and Rutland.  2017, Membership reached 9,700 with over £3.27m in savings, 750 junior savers with £303,000 savings, 3,100 borrowers with a total of £3.24m in loans. The credit union has paid a dividend on savings in 2016 of 0.75% and 2017 doubled that to 1.5%. The credit union is partnered with organisations such as ASRA Housing, Leicester City Council, Leicestershire County Council, Blaby District Council, Melton District Council, Hinckley & Bosworth Borough Council, B-Inspired, Centrebus and Leicester College. 2018 the credit union celebrated the launch of an Open Banking partnership with TrueLayer, a leading provider of bank account API’s, to improve access to finance for its members. The partnership utilises the opportunities provided by Open Banking to allow Clockwise to access member bank account data in order to make more efficient and secure loan assessments.  This enhances members’ experience by speeding up the loan process and ensuring that the credit union is lending responsibly in its underwriting process. After two weeks of using True Layer’s technology almost 200 members have benefited from having the speed of loan decisions increased. Clockwise Credit union continued in 2018 to achieve the 5-star Fairbanking Mark reflecting not only their vision but mission, values and hard work, the dedication by staff, directors and volunteers.

Sheffield Credit Union Ltd

Established in 2004 in an amalgamation of a number of smaller Credit Unions in Sheffield, Sheffield Credit Union has grown to provide its members with safe savings products and low cost, affordable loans. Sheffield Credit Union was the winner of the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce “Business in the Community Award” 2015. In 2016 Sheffield Credit Union merged with Rothersave Credit Union to offer services through branches in Sheffield and Rotherham. Sheffield Credit Union now employs around 20 paid staff, who are supported in their work by a similar number of committed volunteers, and has around 7,000 active members. People who live or work in the following Council regions, can join Sheffield Credit Union:  Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster, Barnsley, Derbyshire Dales, Bassetlaw, Chesterfield, North East Derbyshire and Bolsover. The credit union also covers the employees and tenants of 16 different housing providers who are located at least partly within the Sheffield City Region

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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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