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Credit Unions

Credit Unions are small non-profit financial organisations set up by people with something in common, to benefit their community. That common factor may be living in the same town, working in the same industry (e.g. the Police Credit Union) or belonging to a particular trade union.

Wholly under publicised, roughly 500 credit unions have sprung up to offer loans, savings and current accounts to their members, and roughly half a million Britons are members.

What are they for?

They’re there to provide a financial community, where its members mutually benefit… as there’s no profit for third party shareholders. At one end they help those who can’t get access to ordinary, run-of-the-mill bank products, becoming a lifeline for many living in less well-off communities grappling with their finances. For many they’re a welcome alternative to payday loans or doorstep lending. Yet some of the larger credit unions such as those for the police, or the big Glasgow credit union can offer products that beat those of mainstream finance. For more on their role read the factsheet by ABCUL (The Association of British Credit Unions), the credit union trade body which can be found in the finance links page.

What services do they offer?

The primary functions are savings and borrowing (though more services may be provided depending on how big a particular credit union is).