Following three years of research and planning, approval was given to Quids in Bolton Credit Union on the 15th of April 2004 by the Financial Services Authority (FSA), which authorizes and regulates the UK’s major financial institutions.
With the support of Bolton MBC and partly financed by European Union money, the organisation opened for business in February 2005. Its founding principles remain the same to this day: to encourage people to save and give everyone living, working or studying in Bolton access to affordable credit. Just months after its launch, Quids In merged with a 25-year long-established Johnson Fold Credit Union to create a borough-wide organisation.
It enrolled its 1000th member days before its first anniversary in 2006, making it one of the fastest growing credit unions in the UK, and later that year joined a Government-backed scheme enabling it to offer instant loans to members without the prior requirement to serve a qualifying membership period.
The credit union paid its first dividend to members’ savings in 2007 and that summer was named Community Business of the Year at the Bolton and Bury Business Awards, providing official recognition and endorsement of its work in tackling financial exclusion in the borough.
In 2008, membership topped the 3,000 mark and the total loaned to its members passed the £1 million milestone.
In 2009, Bolton MBC transferred its lead role in sponsoring the credit union to an associate organisation, Bolton at Home, which entered into partnership agreement to provide it with advice, support and resources. Later that year, in order to help broaden its appeal, Quids In was rebranded as Hoot – wise with money.
In order to provide access to more people within Bolton the credit union realized that it needed to take its services into local community areas. In 2010, the credit union with the support of Bolton at Home won a funding bid from Barclays Community Finance Initiative, which provided the credit union with funding to develop the project.
Since moving into the Town Centre Office on Ashburner Street the credit union has grown to over 4500 members with ambitions to increase membership year on year. In July 2013 the membership criteria for the credit union was expanding to include people from Bury and parts of Salford, Wigan and Blackburn.
Hoot in 2015 invited its founding members to celebrate the credit union’s 10th birthday, including “member number 1” Frank White and another of the first savers Gail Battersby. 2016 Hoot was officially awarded Fairbanking Mark a five star rating to their personal loan products.
Can you believe it is 30 years since the first credit union in Bolton opened in Johnson Fold. 30 years later Hoot is still providing services to the community in 2020 during the Covid 19 Pandemic.
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