In 1985 the Police Federation nationally discussed the idea of starting a credit union, but when this suggestion fell on stony ground, Peter Astles and Jack Kent continued to research the idea. We owe a debt of gratitude to them for the effort they put in, and then taking the concept to GMP Federation Branch Boards where they received an enthusiastic reception.
They set up a working party on 31st July 1985 and eventually on 3rd December 1985 completed the Credit Unions registration and began to collect joining fees. The first to join was Peter Knowles. He was quickly joined by the other 20 members required to set up the Credit Union. After a slight false start when the registrar issued a telling off for starting before all formalities were completed, the Credit Union began issuing loans at a (then maximum) rate of 12.68% APR. Many will remember having to see the credit committee in person to have your loans of over £200 sanctioned. The current President, Chris Burrows, personally remembers Billy Morris very well! Payroll deduction began in July 1986 and this provided a base on which to build a very successful model for us. Records show in the fourth year membership grew to 2058 in September 1990.
The Credit Union continued to grow within GMP with membership standing at 5,500 by 1999. Then on 10th September of that year a Special General Meeting, agreed to take in members from Cheshire and North Wales. GMP Credit Union was then rebranded as the Number One Police Credit Union. No1 Police Credit Union got another telling off from the registrar as they recognised same sex partners for membership, something they were told was wrong in law. Not much notice was taken as they concentrated on treating everyone fairly and equally and that year achieved a membership milestone of 10,000.
Whilst this revolution was taking place in the North West, others were seeing the light. After two years of trying, John Thomas from Leicester convinced his Federation JBB to set up a credit union in 1989. They were eventually joined by Lincolnshire Police and rebranded as CopperPot Credit Union.
By 2001 they secured the involvement of a total of 20 forces, and had accumulated assets of £3 million. John Thomas speculated on a number of what were seen as almost “Tomorrows World” ideas including a national common bond. The following year that was exactly what Number One Police Credit Union did get…. a national common bond.
Things moved on quickly and in 2004 Number One Police Credit Union merged with CopperPot to become the credit union they are today. No1 CopperPot Credit Union then had 16,000 members. In 2006 No1 CopperPot Credit Union moved to its current premises at Cheadle.
The Credit Union is still focussed solely on the police family, and has not diluted its common bond. No1 CopperPot are one of only four credit unions authorised to grant mortgages, and have so far helped 157 members buy their own homes by lending them a total of almost £20 million.
At the end of July 2016 No1 CopperPot had 30,009 members and £133 million in assets. On the 12th of August 2016 a warm welcome was given to founder members, members, staff and guests from other Credit Unions, celebrating the 30 year anniversary at the Greater Manchester Police museum, Newton Street.
There is a management team who are financial professionals, and staff and who are committed to the ethos of mutuality. The board is a diverse mix from the Police family, and we have professional non executives from a banking and building society background.
The board which is constantly developing, and will continue to do so in the near future, is held in high regard by our regulators when carrying out its role of governance, stewardship and setting strategic goals. The CEO owns the vision and leads on its tactical implementation through the staff. She has autonomy in these areas and in the past few years the bold decisions taken by the CEO and her team have seen many more members benefit from very competitively priced loans, whilst we are still able to provide an excellent return to savers.
It is the core values which build the vision that has stood the Credit Union in good stead for all these years. Integrity –acting in a fair, ethical, open and honest manner, being committed- believing in what they do, respectfulness- appreciating members, staff and the directors, knowledge- investing in the staff and directors to ensure they have the right skills to run the Credit Union, customer focus- member’s always come first and teamwork- believing in working together to provide the best service for all members.
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Want to find out more?
Visit the No1 CopperPot Union website
Telephone – 0161 741 3160
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
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