South Manchester Credit Union

SMCU was born at Barlow Moor Community Centre – they had the idea and visited one in Glasgow. They set up a savings club but it was a local councillor Cath Bloch who had the vision for a credit union. She set up a meeting in 1999 at Barlow Moor Library (since burned down) – Jean was also at that meeting.

South Manchester Credit Union

Having got everyone enthused she announced at the end (it may have been a subsequent meeting) that she was moving to near Blackpool and someone else would have to take over. Paul Murphy then became chair of the study group. They met weekly in getting the policy and procedures manual together and went off to see other credit unions in action. During this time, the founders also joined forces with Robert Lock who also was interested in setting up a credit union at Christ Church. 

Barlow Moor Community Centre had some access to European Funds which helped pay for some stuff at the start up. The centre was used as the first office and as a collection point. At the time ABCUL were setting up a credit union in North Manchester with a paid worker. Training was requested from ABCUL but the cost was prohibitive which was no help as all their resources were into supporting North Manchester Credit Union (which subsequently folded and were taken over by River Valley Credit Union? (Salford). But Irene Mulcahy and Sale West Credit Union came to the rescue. Irene and a colleague Simon Yeomans came down every week and went through the training with volunteers. The policy and procedures manual were remarkably similar to Sale West’s. The common bond was approved on St Patricks day 1999 17th March. The business plan and policy and procedures manual were submitted. 

The pre-registration visits by the Registry of Friendly Society on 12th July 1999 with Nicola Vincent. This involved 16 (approx.)  of the volunteers in Barlow Moor Library being asked random questions by Nicola. Then, the business plan was resubmitted and the approval letter from Nicola was received on 15th September. Soon after the credit union had set up, Hulme and Moss Side Credit Union folded Though it was not a merger as such they in effect became members of the Credit Union. With the help of A6 Corridor funding the board took on our first paid staff Tracey Doyle. 

After 12 years operating from a church hall, South Manchester Credit Union has moved onto the high street. On Saturday 17th November their first office in Burnage, the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Councillor Elaine Boyes, officially opened Manchester. 

The Credit Union was formed in 2000 and previously operated from an office at the church hall of Christ Church in Burnage. A surge of new members over the past few years means that they have outgrown their premises. They are now looking forward to serving members from their new premises, which will be open to members five days a week. Chair of SMCU, Jeff Senerviratne said, “This is a new beginning for the credit union.  South Manchester Credit Union has opened a community branch at ‘The Place at Platt Lane’ Friends of Fallowfield, local residents and City South Housing has all paid off and this new community resource is a breath of fresh air for Fallowfield. The Credit Union has reached a significant milestone. Since they opened the doors in the year 2000, and have now issued more than 15,000 loans to members for a combined total of more than £10 million. Fallowfield Credit Union considered merging with a larger credit union in the light of more regulation and the need to upgrade services for the future and the subject remained on the agenda for discussion at board meetings. Merger in 2017 had now been agreed with South Manchester Credit Union

The Credit Union in March 2022 celebrated the pioneer members who helped shape the credit union to honour their dedication to help the credit union reach its 21st birthday. They have now  supported the community with over £24,800,000 in loans since 2000 and currently over £3m in savings across its membership.

News Clips and Docs HERE

Want to find out more?

Visit the South Manchester Credit Union website, or get in touch with their team:

Telephone – 0161 448 0200

Email –

Copyright British Credit Union Historical Society 2018 – All rights reserved

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