Credit Union Associations & Groups

The credit union movement has a range of associations and groups operating both locally and nationally. They promote co-operation and collaboration among credit unions, providing valuable resources including information, education and services to their members.

Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU)

I The Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) 525 member credit unions was set up by a small group of credit unions in 1960 to represent & service affiliated credit unions on the island of Ireland.  The ILCU now represents the interests of over 500 credit unions in Ireland. The ILCU is the trade and representative body for 95 credit unions in Northern Ireland. Membership of the ILCU is open to every credit union in Ireland. Promotes the credit union idea and ethos.  Represents affiliated credit unions with Government, the EU and other agencies.  Provides central services to credit unions. 

The ILCU has undergone a programme of re-focusing of its operations to better support credit unions in achieving their specific goals. As the representative voice of the credit union movement in Ireland, the ILCU work in the best interests of all credit unions. The key to creating a balance between a commercial focus and the special ethos of the credit union movement is to establish and maintain a culture of self-regulation throughout the organisation. Advice, guidance and assistance with day-to-day operations and on a range of other issues are critical elements of the ILCU‘s Business Support Service. 

Ulster Federation of Credit Unions

Ulster Federation of Credit Unions51 member credit unions The seeds of the UFCU were sown in 1986. The National federation of credit unions based in Bradford England assisted in the development of credit unions in Northern Ireland; in time the NFCU (Northern Ireland) became larger than the main NFCU body in Great Britain and in 1995 the Ulster credit unions broke away and formed their own UFCU. The aims of the Ulster Federation of Credit Unions are: To provide a local and easily contacted central office to answer queries, help with difficulties, offer advice and to provide stationery, rule books, etc. To act as a powerful body when negotiating with the Registrar, Banks, Solicitors, Accountants, Insurance Companies and other financial and legal bodies. To encourage self-support amongst member Credit Unions and to broker a simple internal means of borrowing and lending from and to each other. 

News and Clips HERE 

Association of British Credit Unions Ltd.

Association of British Credit Unions Ltd. (ABCUL) has the Majority of Credit Union members– was set up in 1967 as the Credit Union League of Great Britain and in June 1984 changed it’s name to ABCUL has affiliated credit unions in England, Scotland, and Wales. ABCUL represents credit unions who in turn provide services to 85% of the British credit union membership. Committed to making a difference to credit unions in Great Britain. Provide a full range of advice, training and development services to help  member credit unions grow and become sustainable financial co-operatives. The Vision Credit unions will become the primary source of affordable, high quality and ethical financial services for the people of Great Britain.The Mission To be the principal, democratically governed representative body of the credit union movement in Great Britain and to provide credit unions with the leadership, services and assistance they require to meet the financial needs and aspirations of the people of this country. ABCUL’s Young Professionals Network (YPN) that has been operating since 2019 and has successfully held three face to face events for members focusing on the unique role of younger professionals in shaping the future of the Credit Union sector.In June 2020 hosted a week-long series of webinars, podcasts and social events as part of its summer event ‘YP Week with expert speakers covering a range of important topics such as Digital Marketing in your Credit Union during Covid-19, Managing Stress and Anxiety in Work and Beyond, Young Professionals Internationally and also a session with ABCUL CEO, Robert Kelly and ABCUL President, Karen Bennett.

News and Clips HERE

Scottish League of Credit Unions

Scottish League of Credit Unions 31 Credit Unions founded in 1994. In 1992 a Scottish Credit Union study group was formed. It originally comprised of seven Credit Unions, mostly affiliated to the NFCU, which were  apparently unhappy that the movement was largely directed from England.In March 1994 their set of model rules was approved.(Source Registry of Friendly Societies- CREDIT UNIONS IN GREAT BRITIAN A REVIEW OF THE YEARS 1979-1995)

 The Scottish League of Credit Unions is in supporting small to medium sized Credit Unions, at whatever stage of development is deemed appropriate by the members of each Credit Union. We recognise and respect the different needs and aspirations of individual Credit Unions and we do not seek to impose any particular model or developmental path. Our core purpose is to ensure that our member Credit Unions become and remain: Compliant –> Sustainable –> Ethical

 We do this by focusing on the key themes of: Education through on-site & group training sessions using ready-made materials or bespoke solutions Advice on legal, compliance, regulatory & financial issues Networking by encouraging formal & informal contact between member CU’s, volunteers and staff Facilitation where member CU’s wish to co-ordinate or work together to achieve common goals Representation to Regulator, local, Scottish & UK Government, other CU organisations and the media Promotion by developing common branding material templates, customisable by Credit Unions       For News and Clips Click HERE

Access to Credit Unions for Everyone

 Access to Credit Unions for Everyone (ACE) 44 credit union members. It was set up following the demise of the National Federation of Credit Unions (NFCU). it was set up in 2000, with affiliates in England, Scotland, Wales and Jersey.  ACE stands for ‘Access to Credit Unions for Everyone’ and are committed to helping credit unions to start up or to help established credit unions achieve their goals in terms of further progress and development. It is vital that there is more than one support body so that credit unions and study groups have a choice of organisations in terms of support, representation and training.   Without choice, a monopoly situation arises which is invariably not good news for the consumer!  2017 position of ACE is a self-sustaining trade association that covers all of its expenses from income generated from members affiliation fees. Although ACE is likely to lose some credit unions because of mergers, the overall membership position is strong with the arrival of Unify CU. Grampian CU and Knowsley Mutual CU. As things stand ACE has 3 credit unions with 8,000 + members, 5 credit unions with between 4,000 to 8,000 members, 9 credit unions with between 2,000 and 4,000 members, 6 credit unions with between 1,000 and 2,000 members and 12 affiliated members with less than 1,000 members. Regional meetings to be supported by ACE Board members was agreed at a strategic Planning Day meeting held in Wallsend in August 2017, it was suggested that the holding of Regional meetings for ACE credit unions would be a good way of improving communication between ACE and its members. All directors present thought that this would be a positive move. Directors in the identified regions will endeavour to call regional meetings throughout the year. The identifiable ACE regions currently are: Wales – 8 Credit Unions, Scotland 4 Credit Unions, West Lothian Credit Union North-East England 4 Credit Unions. North Tyneside Employees Credit Union North-West England 9 Credit Unions, South-West England 6 Credit Unions, and Clivey Credit Union Midlands 4 Credit Unions.

News and Clips HERE

United Kingdom Credit Unions (UKCU)

30 Credit Union members Unity in Diversity founded in 2004–, previously called the Association of Independent Credit Unions (AICU) that broke away from the NFCU in 1993. It has affiliates in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland 

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Tyrone Federation of Credit Unions(TFCU)

 Tyrone Federation of Credit Unions(TFCU) 13 Credit Union members In September 2004 the Tyrone Federation of Credit Unions was formed. MTCU decided to sever their links with the Ulster Federation to join the new Tyrone Federation. 

National Credit Union Forum

National Credit Union Forum set up in 2012 comprises of six like minded credit unions that come together to discuss issues in common and share best practice. The  forum represents six of the largest well established credit unions. Offering a range of products and services, over and above the majority of the sector.  This is demonstrated by the fact that they are the only representative group to include credit unions with mortgage permissions. 

National Association of Credit Union Workers

Since it was set up in 1992, the  has been the only professional association for credit union workers throughout Britain (whether employees or volunteer staff of a credit union, or those who provide support, training or development advice). During that time its members have worked with the majority of credit unions in Britain. Most of its members being managers and staff actively working in credit unions across the country. NACUW has had an important representational role as its members work in all types and sizes of credit unions. This has enabled it to offer a unique perspective to government and the regulatory authorities on improvements to policies, legislation and the regulation of the credit union sector. The British credit union movement is now well established and has seen many changes during this period. As a consequence of these many changes, some of the needs met by NACUW in the past have become less important.

News and Clips HERE

The Association of Cornish Credit Unions

Each of the Credit Unions operating in Cornwall has a representative that sits on the ACCU board. The board decides on countywide policy and strategy, working together to develop a joined-up approach to credit unions in Cornwall. The ACCU board meets every two to three months for a workshopped meeting that will examine individual issues that face Cornish credit unions. ACCU’s remit is to provide training and networking opportunities for the Cornish credit unions and produce generic promotional material. It also gains funding to support its activities and looks into partnerships work that will enable a larger degree of sustainability. ACCU provide training that includes Induction Training Directors Training Credit Committee Front of House Training ACCU hosts two Themed Away Days a year. In November last year we focused on Sustainability looking at how credit unions can work together and share resources and developing partnerships and strategy’s that will allow us to be less dependent on grants. ACCU have established a free phone number 0800131 3804 that can enable callers to contact the credit in their common bond.

Credit Unions Together Ltd

CUT is a secondary co-operative, a co-operative business democratically controlled by its Credit Union members, all of whom are themselves co-operatives and share certain aims or values in common. This secondary co-operative is a way for these Credit Unions to do things that help achieve their aims that they would not be able to do by themselves. Credit Unions need to grow by merging or other means but in doing so they can lose their personal touch by becoming another large, faceless organisation. CUT can help credit Unions join forces without losing their personal touch and independence but still be able to exhibit the power of one large organisation. Secondary co-operatives have been used in a number of sectors already. 
Founder Members of CUT are: Holdfast Credit Union HarlowSave Credit Union Colchester Credit Union Basildon Credit Union.

Greater Manchester Consortium of credit unions, ‘SoundPound’

SoundPound campaigns around Greater Manchester ‘Get Local’ to promote credit unions as a fair and ethical alternative to high cost lenders. More than 50,000 people in Greater Manchester are already members of one of the SoundPound partners, currently borrowing a total value of £14 million in loans. Members currently hold savings of £24 million with SoundPound credit unions. The social impact is even stronger when working together to widen access to credit union financial services offer for everyone in Greater Manchester communities.

The SoundPound network in 2018 have been recognised for a social value award from the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, for their great initiative joining forces to take on national lenders and show people there is an ethical and local alternative that could save borrowers thousands of pounds. Its long-term aim is to triple credit union membership in Greater Manchester.

Members of the Greater Manchester Soundpound are Cashbox Credit Union, Hoot Credit Union, Manchester Credit Union, Oldham Credit Union, Salford Credit Union, Stockport Credit Union, South Manchester Credit Union, and Unify Credit Union.

In 2020 these Credit Unions unveiled £15m in COVID recovery plan wanting to show communities across Greater Manchester that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that their local community credit union is there to support them at this time of uncertainty and financial hardship with an affordable loan package. The Sound Pound recovery plan was created to rebuild communities, support people and lend responsibly and play a crucial role in driving local economies forward, helping all of to build back better from the impacts being felt by communities across Greater Manchester due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Copyright British Credit Union Historical Society 2018 – All rights reserved

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