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.
By March 2020 the credit union was in the fortunate position being able to continue servicing members during the period of lock-down responding positively to the Coronavirus pandemic by testing the credit unions operational resilience. The credit union Board has prioritised actions to address vulnerabilities such as those caused by Covid-19 and have been able to minimise the impact of the pandemic.
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