Credit Unions

Controlling your own financial services

Credit unions are owned and controlled by their members.

They are run ‘by the members, for the members’, so as a credit union member you have a real say in how your financial service provider operates.

As co-operatives, credit unions are founded on the values of self-help, responsibility and self-organisation. Their top priority is to serve members’ interests. As well as offering accessible and affordable loans and savings products, credit unions are not driven to make money for external shareholders but have to make decisions in the best interest of their members.

Credit unions can only offer products to members.

Each year credit union members elect a board of directors to represent their interests. The board then employs a manager or chief executive officer (CEO) who is responsible, with employees and volunteers, for the day-to-day management of the credit union.

The co-operative values and principles of credit unions mean members have full control of their own financial business, keeping the benefits in the community.

Credit Unions have been around for 150 years offering people straight forward financial products. They are owned and controlled by their members. So if you join, that means YOU!

Credit Unions offer easy-access savings accounts and preferential rate loans with free life and loan insurance.

Credit Unions are community based and are committed to helping local people.

Mutual & Ethical Savings

Credit unions make it easy to save.

Even a small amount saved each week will soon mount up.

  • Credit unions serve the community. So when you invest in your local credit union you know it’s your neighbours or colleagues who are benefiting, not outside shareholders.
  • You can save as much or as little as you like, weekly, monthly or as often as you wish.
  • Deposit savings at local branches, shops, collection points, by direct debit or directly from your wages.
  • Credit unions aim to pay a competitive dividend on savings once a year to all members. .

In many credit unions life insurance is included at no extra cost, making it easy to build up a useful nest egg. On the death of a member savings can be doubled by the insurance and paid to whoever the member chooses. (subject to conditions)

All money saved in a credit union is protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Credit unions provide affordable loans

Credit unions provide loans at a rate you can afford

Some credit unions loans will cost you no more than 1% a month on the reducing balance of the loan (an APR of 12.7%). For example if you borrowed £1,000 over 1 year, you would repay no more than £1,067 in total.

Many credit unions charge less, some may charge more but by law this cannot be more than 2% a month on the reducing balance (an APR of 26.8%). This table illustrates what you would repay if you borrowed £500 over 1 year.


Loan Amount


Total Repayable









Illustration only – check directly with your credit union

Loans come with no hidden charges and no penalties for early repayment.

  • You can also carry on saving, so that by the time you finish repaying the loan your savings would have grown as well.
  • Life insurance is built in at no extra cost to the borrower. So if you were to die before you repaid the loan, insurance would repay the loan for you.

Protecting the interests of members

Stronger credit unions

ABCUL has developed the Code of Governance for Credit Unions. This has been an important tool in the effort to develop and grow the sector; providing resources and guidance to credit unions. The Code strengthens credit unions internal structures, their accountability to members and stakeholders and aims to complement the regulatory framework for credit unions.

Compliance and Continuity

The credit union strives to ensure compliance and transparency with the requirements of the law, the regulator and members of the credit union and takes steps to safeguard the future of the credit union.

Integrity and Accountability

The credit union strives to maintain the integrity of elected individuals, staff and the credit union both as a financial provider and an ethical co-operative business, and in doing so aims to maintain accountability to all of its stakeholders.

Skills and Ability

The Board and Senior Management must ensure that all those involved in the operation of the credit union will have the opportunity to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to operate the credit union successfully.

Structure and the Principles of Good Governance

The credit union must develop and maintain an accessible, clear and co-operative structure.

Member, funder or supporting organisation?  You can check on this link  if your credit union is signed up to the Code of Governance or follow the links and learn more about credit unions and governance.

The local Credit Union for those who work or live in The London Boroughs of Havering or  Barking & Dagenham is:

Liberty Credit Union


Community House                Unit 38(Top Floor)

19/21 Eastern Road              Vicarage Field Shopping Centre

ROMFORD                             Ripple Road

RM1 3NH                               BARKING  IG11 8DQ

Tel number :01708 741899     



For more information or to discuss further please contact: 

Tel Number: 01708 640855


Twitter: @LifestyleFinMan

Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority