Started by a small group of enthusiastic volunteers in the early 2000s as a study group and registered in 2002. It is one of the city’s truly outstanding success stories. The largest credit union in Wolverhampton, WCCU is a fair community bank offering ethical financial services for people living and working in the WV postcode areas of Wolverhampton, South Staffordshire and Shropshire.
Today it is a substantial not-for-profit business with £2.2 million in savings and £1.2 million in loans, more than 6,500 members across Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire. In 2015, we merged with the New Friends Credit Union in Low Hill to become the largest credit union across Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire.
They have two branches in Wolverhampton. The main branch is at 73 Worcester Street and a smaller branch where members can pop in which is on the ground floor of the Civic Centre in St Peter’s Square. 2016 the Living Wage commitment will see that everyone working at WCCU, regardless of whether they are permanent employees or third-party contractors, receives a minimum hourly wage of £8.45 – significantly higher than the National Minimum Wage and the new National Living Wage for over 25s of £7.20 per hour.
The community bank will be launched in Low Hill for the first time (July 26 2017), as part of efforts to drive out loan sharks preying on local people. The credit union had taken on doorstep lenders and loan sharks in local communities by setting up two pop-up credit unions in Low Hill and The Scotlands. This innovative development in 2017 had seen a growth in members, savings and ethical loans in those neighbourhoods, places that are cynically targeted by lenders who profit out of people’s financial desperation and who care little about the impact of problem debt. The credit union also signed up five more local employers to its payroll deduction scheme in 2017.
The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of financial resilience to deal with unexpected life events. A campaign, called #PaydayYourWay, in 2020 with the aims to encourage staff to save regularly, help them manage their money and keep them out of the clutches of loan sharks. The partnership involved the England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT), Black Country Chamber of Commerce, and Just Finance Black Country along with local credit union Wolverhampton City Credit Union, working together to promote savings through payroll deduction.
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