About Credit Unions
What are Credit Unions?
Credit Unions are membership based organisations, much like co-operatives. Members have a say in how their credit union is run and may receive a share of the profits – a dividend.
Credit Unions offer a range of straightforward saving products and fair, manageable loans to members. There are around 500 credit unions in the UK and more than 1.8 million members UK wide, and this number is increasing. The credit union movement is global – there are credit unions in 109 countries, with over 231 million members worldwide!
The Credit Union “Common Bond”
To join a credit union you usually need to live or work in a certain area, or do a certain type of job. This is known as the credit union ‘common bond’, meaning members have something in common.
Everyone who lives or works in Shropshire or Telford & Wrekin can become a FAIRshare member.
Why become a Credit Union member?
A Credit Union’s customers are its members. Members choose to join a Credit Union to save ethically, benefit their local community and access fair, manageable loans.
Credit unions promote responsible lending and do not lend more than their members can afford to repay. They do this by :
- promoting good money management – members are encouraged to save as well as borrow money
- provide loans with fair and reasonable rates
- encourage members to use money wisely and manage their finances
Regular savings from members create a “pool of money” which is used to offer fair, manageable loans to other members. At times when a member borrows from us, we allocate part of their weekly or monthly repayments to their savings account so they have a cash lump sum when they’ve repaid your loan. We call this ‘Save As You Borrow‘ and its one of the great benefits of borrowing from a credit union. Research shows that borrowers that save whilst paying pack a loan become habitual savers.
Credit union interest rates are capped by their regulators which makes then considerably cheaper than many other lenders. They also offer flexible repayment terms without penalties and hidden costs.
By saving with your local Credit Union, you know your money is being used for the benefit of the local community.
Credit Unions runs on a not-for-profit basis, with any surplus being put into reserves or paid back to members as an annual dividend. The interest earned on loans pays for the credit union’s administration.
What is the purpose of a Credit Union ?
- To promote financial well-being within the local area by providing access to affordable savings and loan products
- To create a source of credit facilities for the benefit of its members at a fair and reasonable interest rate
- To use and control members’ funds for the mutual benefit of all members
Is my money safe in a Credit Union?
Yes. As with banks and building societies, your savings are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). Should a credit union go out of business and be unable to repay its members in full, the FSCS will cover the full amount up to £85,000*. Credit Unions are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.