Annual General Meeting 2021


This years AGM will once again be a virtual meeting held on Zoom. Please add Friday 14th May 2021 at 6.00pm to your diaries. Nearer to the time we will issue you with a copy of the Annual Report and a copy of the Audited Accounts in readiness for the meeting.


The Board members due to retire on rota are Joe Muirhead and Sandra Smith, both are eligible for re-nomination. We also have one vacancy, so if you feel you would benefit our Board and would like to get involved in running and managing UKCU, please contact Dawn (Company Secretary) for an informal chat.  

At the end of the meeting, we will be hosting a guest speaker – Abbie Shelton from the Save and Sound Oral History Project will be joining us to give an update on the project and to let us know what the next steps are for expanding the project after the pilot has finished. You can read more about the project below. Our CEO Dawn is involved in the project as a volunteer Trustee and is also being interviewed to tell the history and stories of both First Choice Credit Union and UKCU. 

The Board are already working on the 2022 Conference and AGM and aiming to make it bigger and better so we can all finally get together again and renew old friendships!

Credit Union Oral History Project Up and Running


The important task of recording and preserving the memories of credit unions pioneers has continued under lockdown, thanks to a dedicated team of volunteers. 

The Credit Union Foundation’s Save and Sound Project, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund with money raised by lottery players, has moved online.  A team of eight volunteers has been trained by the Oral History Society and is using a podcasting platform to link up with interviewees across the north of England.  The interviews will become part of the national oral history collection cared for by the British Library where they will be available to generations of researchers.

The project has interviews lined up for the coming months but is still keen for people with memories of credit unions before 2000 to get in touch and share their stories.  The online platform means that people can see each other but only the sound is recorded.  So that audio quality can be assured, people sharing their memories are provided with a microphone and headphones, as well as full instructions.  
It is through the support of partners, the dedication of volunteers and the flexibility of interviewees that the project has been able to continue.  The interview team is drawn from people with many years of involvement in the sector and none; what they have in common is a commitment to preserving credit union heritage. 
Nancy Gray is new to credit unions but feels “very privileged and excited to be part of this project recording the history of the movement and the contribution it has made to bettering the financial health of so many of its members.” Anca Voinea has volunteered because she wants to “help tell the stories of some of north of England’s credit union pioneers”. 

Chris Canham is excited to be involved because: “Gathering and recording the story of credit unions is important and I hope it will encourage many people to take part."  For Alan Hignett, the project is “perfectly timed to keep the oral knowledge of our credit union people alive for future generations.”

Marie Gray has been involved in the project from both sides.  She is a volunteer interviewer with the project and contributed her own memories when team colleague Katie Kingsman, a student from Lancaster University, interviewed her in her own right.  Marie said of her interview: “I appreciated the opportunity to talk about my experiences uninterrupted.  It was a really good exercise.” 
Project Manager Abbie Shelton said: “We have already recorded some fascinating stories; I am really thankful for all the advice we have received, and I am proud of our volunteers who have risen admirably to the challenge of learning new technologies and techniques.
“We are really grateful to everyone who has already come forward, but we are still looking for more people to share their story.  No matter what role you played in a credit union, your memories will help us tell the story of early credit unions and raise awareness of credit union heritage.”

If you are interested in contributing your memories to the project, or have photos or other items that you could share for inclusion on a new credit union heritage website, contact the Project Manager Abbie Shelton via email at or you can visit the website for more information 

Christmas Closure


We would like to wish all of our members a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year. We hope you all have a wonderful but safe time with your families and we look forward to hearing from everyone in the new year!

Please note that we will be closing for business at 4pm on Tuesday 22nd December and reopening at 8.30am on Monday 4th January.

Best Wishes from all the Board of UKCU and Dawn, Kerry and Storm x

Keep The Co-Operative Candle Burning 


14th March 1761 – Fenwick Weavers Society (Scotland) signed a charter agreeing to “help one another secure a better standard of living and more secure future through mutual co-operation”.

9th November 1769 – Fenwick Weavers Society in another document “stipulated Society’s funds to be used to purchase victuals (food) in bulk to be sold to Society members and non-members with Society members enjoying the privilege of up to 4 weeks trust” (credit).

21st December 1844 at 20:00 GMT - “The Rochdale Pioneers” opened the doors of the first Co-operative Store at 31 Toad Lane, Rochdale, Lancashire - and it’s still there.





Kindly sent to us to share from Barry Epstein at ILCUDE

Diversity in the Boardroom - Podcast


In episode 15 of Talking Credit Unions Podcast with Chris Smith, the subject of diversity in the credit union board room is discussed. Chris discusses how too many people, because of their gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, background, or circumstance, find themselves unfairly held back.


Chris Smith has an excellent line up of expert speakers to inform and inspire you on this podcast. 

Listen to Chris Smith's Podcast here.

#SharkFreeSurfing Campaign


The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) is launching its annual
Christmas campaign to raise awareness of loan sharks and prevent
people from falling victim to illegal money lending online.


The theme for this year’s campaign is avoiding loan sharks online after
one in five victims met their lender on social media in the first half of


The campaign will run from 30th November to 6th December and
partners are encouraged to participate by sharing social media posts
and using the hashtag #SharkFreeSurfing.

Talking Credit Unions Podcast


Talking Credit Unions with Chris Smith, Episode 13 - Interest rate caps with Dr Olive McCarthy!

Olive McCarthy is an active member of St. Michael's Credit Union, Cork, Ireland. She receives research funding from a wide array of external sources, including government bodies, NGOs and sectoral organisations. She is a member of the Credit Union Advisory Committee, appointed by the Irish Minister for Finance.

Watch it here.

Furlough Extension Till March


Workers across the United Kingdom will benefit from increased support with a five-month extension of the furlough scheme into Spring 2021, the Chancellor announced today, 5 November.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will now run until the end of March with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked.

Similarly, support for millions more workers through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will be increased, with the third grant covering November to January calculated at 80% of average trading profits, up to a maximum of £7,500.

Talking Credit Unions Podcast


This episode features host Chris Smith talking about a brief round-up on CFCFE, ABCUL and World Council of Credit Unions conferences. 

Naturally, given the global pandemic this year, the conferences did not follow their usual format. Click here to find how more.

Don't forget! Our annual conference and AGM will take place 16th-18th May 2021 at a new venue, The Grand Hotel, Blackpool. Contact us for booking information.

Safe & Sound - Oral History Project


Abbie Shelton, the Project leader for the Save & Sound (A Credit Union Oral History) project is holding 2 webinars for anyone interested in finding out more about the project. 


Abbie said "People will be able to find out about telling their story through an oral history interview, or volunteering as an oral history interviewer or a website editor. The project has been funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to focus initially on the north of England, but anyone with an interest is very welcome to join".


You can register for the sessions at on the links below:


Wednesday 16th September - 6.00pm

Thursday 17th September - 12.00 noon



Please feel free to direct any questions to Abbie – or 07498 928188


Please consider supporting this project as the history of our individual credit union's and of our movement is one worth knowing and keeping factual for future generations.

'Fear and Loaning' - Impact of Covid-19 on Affordable Credit


New research by Community Finance Solutions (CFS) at the University of Salford and Carnegie UK Trust has highlighted the impact that COVID-19 is having on affordable credit providers across England, Scotland and Wales. Fear and Loaning - The Impact of Covid-19 on affordable

credit providers serving financially vulnerable customers has been published today.


More than 60 Credit Unions and Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs) in England, Scotland and Wales took part in the study, which asked about the impact of Covid-19 on demand; lending volume; income; liquidity; viability, and confidence. They reported a decline in the number of people seeking loans and a reduction in the size of loans being sought; a rise in the number of customers seeking payment holidays on their loans; and an increase in saving deposits.


Providers have furloughed staff and closed branches to help them deal with the impact of the pandemic. Some have adapted their business models, increasing the use of digital tools and introducing new products.


Those providers with the smallest average loan amounts (under £1,000) appear to have been most adversely affected by Covid-19, with a higher likelihood of furloughing staff, closing branches and of using government support schemes. They are also less confident and more likely to forecast breaches of regulatory ratios or covenants and inability to meet short-term costs. These providers are the most likely to serve the most vulnerable and financially excluded.


The report is available here.

The British Credit Union Historical Society


A new website dedicated to the History of Credit Unions in the Four Nations of the United Kingdom has been launched. It was conceived
in a major presentation at the Pump House Museum in Manchester and the publication of “THE HIGHLIGHTS: FIFTY YEARS”, coinciding with the 50th Anniversary of the British Credit Union Movement.

It is extremely important for the future of the Credit Union Movement that its history is preserved, from how it began to the pioneers involved. Your organisation’s history is an integral part of that. Please spread
awareness by:

  • Searching for your credit union or organisation on

  • Adding a link to your organisation’s history page on your own website and update yearly

Your members will then be able to view the page and find out more from their phone, tablet, laptop or computer.

Stop Loan Sharks Update


Stop Loan Sharks have released their latest news bulletin which includes updates on; how they are supporting people through Covid-19, their new online chat facility, bidding opportunities for seized cash, online training and much more.

Click here to read the newsletter in full.

CUF Board Recruitment


The Credit Union Foundation have launched an active recruitment campaign to find two new trustees for their board.


The ABCUL Board will consider applications received at the end of June 2020 and will confirm the two new trustees so that they can join the next CUF Trustee Board meeting on 15th July 2020 at 12noon. Of the two independent trustee vacancies in place 1 is earmarked for a representative of the wider credit union sector in the UK.

Deadline for expressions of interest/applications is Tuesday 16th June 2020 at 5pm. Return email address for expressions of interest/applications: relevant documents can be found here. 

-   Recruitment pack May 2020

-   Copy of latest signed accounts from year ending 30 09 2019


The expectation is that anyone interested would have the backing of their credit union or trade body as part of the application process/vetting. 


A full online induction process will take place in the first couple of weeks of July 2020 to get new trustees up and running as quickly as possible.  

CFCFE Report: Credit Unions Respond to Covid-19


CFCFE have issued a briefing paper that summarises some examples of the tremendous efforts by credit union staff and boards to maintain - and even expand - services to members through the COVID-19 pandemic.


A fundamental principle of the credit union sector is ‘people helping people’. The health crisis, with its associated social lockdown and economic shocks, has presented operational and commercial challenges to credit unions that go way beyond previous experience. Credit unions have been balancing the needs and safety of staff and volunteers, members and communities through a wide variety of responses, all illustrating the determination to go the extra mile and exemplifying 'the credit union difference'. The CFCFE have collated examples of these activities, mainly from CFCFE member credit unions, in order that they can share these ideas around the membership and the wider movement. The resulting paper can be downloaded here.

CAP Client Report 2020


In 2019, CAP helped 22,778 adults and children (inclusive of those interacting with more than one CAP service) to change their story. They celebrated with over two thousand households who became debt free and helped many more along the journey. 

Download the report to read more about peoples' stories and the impact CAP’s Debt Help service, Life Skills, Job Clubs and Fresh Start groups are having across the UK.

Cyber Resilience Notice


As a result of the significant rise in COVID-19 related scams, over the next few months, the Scottish Government Cyber Resilience Unit will share important information. They aim to share these updates weekly.


Advice and information is changing daily as we navigate our way through the COVID-19, so please ensure you only take information from trusted sources.

Click here to read their latest bulletin 

Covid-19 Update - Staffing


Due to the Government's announcement yesterday that the period of lockdown is to be extended by 3 more weeks, we have made the decision to furlough our Administrator Kerry for the next 3 weeks.

Your phone calls and email enquiries are still being answered by our CEO, Dawn, who is working from home and is still available to contact between 8.30am and 4.00pm Monday to Friday.

We will review this again over the next 3 weeks and continue to follow the Government's advice.

Coronavirus/COVID19 Information


Please click here for information to help you with managing your way through the Coronavirus outbreak.


We'd like to thank Abcul who have kindly given all the trade bodies permission to use all or part of the information they drafted (saves reinventing the wheel - especially during this stressful time!).


If you need help with anything please just ask, we are here to support you all through this. The PRA and FCA will also be issuing some guidance to you all very soon.


Hope everyone stays safe.

DEEU 2020 - Booking Now Open!


The Credit Union Development Education (DE) training course has been specifically designed to provide individuals with an insight into the cooperative principles, the credit union movement philosophy and international development issues which challenge
credit unions today. This is a unique opportunity to gain valuable knowledge and play a vital role in the development and sustainability of credit unions across the globe - the Credit Union movement.

The DE training course is a 6-day residential held in the Foresight Centre at Liverpool University and facilitated by Marlene Shiels (U.K.) and Lois Kitsch (U.S.A). You will meet and connect with peers from all parts of the world within the credit union sector, including Frontline staff, Volunteers, Chief Executive Officers and Directors.

This unique experience is filled with an invigorating mixture of group work, individual work, influential speakers and presentations ready to prepare you for when you finish. Upon completion, you will join an alumni community where you can keep in contact with other credit union peers.

Wednesday 9th September - Tuesday 15th September 2020, Foresight Centre, Liverpool University, UK

For more information download the information pack here.

History Made as YourB Credit Union Receive Authorisation


On the 21st January history was made when YourB Credit Union received authorisation from the FCA, making them the UK’s first Sharia Law compliant credit union. We are proud to have supported them and congratulate them on this momentous occasion. 

If you would like your credit union to offer a Sharia Law compliant loan product please contact us either on 01706 214322 or at for support and guidance.

UKCU Annual Conference & AGM


With 10 weeks to go until our Annual Conference & AGM there's still time to book your place. Contact our office on 01706 214 322 or email us at for a booking form and more information.

Our staff and directors are working hard on finalising the programme and more information on this will be available in the coming weeks.

UKCU Christmas Opening Hours


Our office will close at 4pm on Monday 23rd December 2019 and will reopen at 8:30am on Friday 3rd January 2020.

We would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

South Bank Credit Union Celebrate 30 Year Anniversary 


South Bank Credit Union celebrated their 30th Birthday on the 17th October. To help mark the occasion they hosted a Family Fun Day complete with a bouncy castle, hook a duck and a raffle.

A fantastic landmark to reach, congratulations South Bank!

Affordable Credit Challenge Now Open!


Development grants of between £125,000 to £150,000 will be awarded to up to six community lender/fintech partnerships in November 2019. From these, three winning partnerships will each receive cash prizes of at least £200,000 in Spring 2020.

The application window is now open and will remain open until 8am BST on 30 September 2019.

Click here to find out more!

Payment Systems Regulator Publishes Annual Report


The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) has today published its Annual Report and Accounts for 2018/19, which reports on its activity over the past financial year. 


They significant progress in several areas:


  • their work led to the introduction of a new industry code that will see banks take responsibility for preventing authorised push payment scams and giving consumers better protection than ever before

  • they began a programme of research into access to cash, and directed LINK to do it all can to fulfil its commitment to maintaining the broad geographic spread of free-to-use ATMs across the UK

  • they launched our third market review to look in detail at the supply of card-acquiring services – a vital part of card payment systems

  • their access programme continues to bear fruit, with more payment service providers than ever joining payment systems – stimulating competition, innovation and choice for consumers and organisations

Scottish Government Issue Funeral Cost Guidance


The Scottish Government have issued new guidance to make it easier to plan the cost of funerals, burials and cremations has been published.

The aim of the guidance is to make clear and consistent information on costs available so that more informed decisions can be made by those planning funerals.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said:

"Worries about affordability can make bereavement even more difficult, particularly where it has not been possible to put aside money for the funeral in advance.

"This guidance, which has been created with industry input, will improve transparency and will I hope be of help to those individuals and families who have lost a loved one."

Click here to read more 

Application form for prize-linked savings pilot


Credit unions in England, Scotland and Wales can apply to be a part of the 2 year pilot - the closing date is the 17th May so a quick response is needed.

Last year the government committed to launching a pilot of a new prize-linked savings scheme for credit unions, to help people increase their financial resilience while boosting awareness and membership of credit unions.

Under the scheme individuals who save will be entered into a draw to win cash prizes. They are looking to partner with 10-15 credit unions for a two year pilot. They invite credit unions who are interested in participating to complete this application form and submit it to:

Applications close on Friday 17th May 2019.

Edward Filene Credit Union Awards for Performance Excellence


With only 2 months to go before the closing date of 30 June, don't miss out on this opportunity to highlight the achievements and successes of your credit union to your peers and the cooperative  community. 


Click here to see all 19 categories, that include Leadership (recognising the contribution of those special people who serve your credit union) Enterprise (your business successes) and Community Outreach (the impact for good of your credit union in your community).

See the Ten Top Tips to make your entries sparkle!
If you're unsure which category to pick or have any other questions on your entry, up to June 23rd the Awards Office can be contacted for guidance in strictest confidence on +44(0)20 8241 2736 or email 

Don't forget - the closing date for entries is June 30th

Good luck with your entries!

DEEU 2019 - Students and Mentors 


DEEU is a fantastic programme and we'd recommend to all to take the step and become a DE if you are able to - you meet so many enthusiastic and motivated credit union people from all over the world and it really inspires and re-energises you and reiterates why we are involved in this movement.  It also opens up lots of opportunities to become a International DE and attend further programmes across the world. Click here for the information pack.


They are also looking for applicants to become Mentors on the programme (must be previous DE Graduate) Click here for a mentor application form

Stop Loan Sharks Newsletter - Winter Issue 2019


Stop Loan Sharks have issued their Winter Issue of their newsletter. The newsletter showcases a number of achievements by Stop Loan Sharks as well as news items related to the war on loan sharks.

You can view their newsletter here.

For more information about Stop Loan Sharks and the work that they do please visit their website.

PSR Factsheet 2019/20


The PSR have published their Annual Report 2019/20, which covers their activity over the past year. Some of the significant milestones they reached include:

  • Protecting people from Authorised Push Payment scams and the implementation of Confirmation of Payee

  • Access to cash through ATMs and longer term sustainable access to payment methods

  • Market review into card-acquiring services to make sure the supply of these services is working well for merchants, and ultimately consumers

  • Overseeing the delivery of the New Payments Architecture to produce good outcomes for payment systems users

  • Continuing to make sure access to payment systems is fair and transparent, enabling participants to provide new and innovative products and services

  • On-going to work with HM Treasury, the Bank of England and Financial Conduct Authority to prepare for EU Withdrawal

The PSR have produced a factsheet that summarises their work over the last 12 months, which you may find useful.

DEEU 2019 - Liverpool


The Credit Union Development Education (DE) training course has been specifically designed to provide individuals with an insight into the cooperative principles, the credit union movement philosophy and international development issues which challenge credit unions today.

This is a unique opportunity to gain valuable knowledge and play a vital role in the development and sustainability of credit unions across the globe - the Credit Union movement.

The DE training course is a 6 day residential held in the Foresight Centre at Liverpool University and facilitated by Marlene Shiels (U.K.) and Lois Kitsch (U.S.A). You will meet and connect with peers from all parts of the world within the credit union sector, including Frontline staff, Volunteers, Chief Executive Officers and Directors.

This unique experience is filled with an invigorating mixture of group work, individual work, influential speakers and presentations ready to prepare you for when you finish. Upon completion, you will join an alumni community where you can keep in contact with other credit union peers.


You can download the information pack here.


Did you know a number of UKCU directors and staff have completed DEEU? Most recently our CEO, Dawn, graduated DEEU class of 2019 (Best class ever!) and is currently raising money to fund places for future scholars both in the UK and overseas? You can donate to her Just Giving page here.