In today's tough times banks have tightened their belts. Loans have become more expensive, hidden fees have been introduced and savings are earning paltry interest rates. As a result loan sharks are making a tidy profit - so if you're sick of being turned away for a loan time and again turn to your local Credit Union instead!
A Credit Union is a profit sharing, democratically run financial co-operative which offers convenient savings and low interest loans to its members. The members own and manage their credit union themselves.
The three main aims of a Credit Union are:
Credit Unions can provide a focal point for a community by bringing people together, to work alongside each other for their own benefit and the benefit of the community as a whole.
Each Credit Union has a "common bond" which determines who can join it. This determines who can become a member of the Credit Union. The common bond may be for people living or working in the same area, people working for the same employer or people who belong to the same association, such as a church or trade union.
However much you can afford. Getting into the habit of saving regularly is more important than how much.
In general, most Credit Unions expect you to save regularly for about 12 weeks before allowing a loan and any loan will be related to your savings in some way. The amount you will be able to borrow will depend on how much you need, what you can afford to repay, and the Credit Union's policies.
The rate of interest you will pay on a loan will vary from union to union. It will also depend on how long you save with the union – the longer you save, the lower the interest rate you will pay. However, the table below is an examples for £300 and £500 if you wanted a loan immediately – 26.8% APR:
|Borrow||# of repayments||Pay per week||Interest charged||Total paid|
|Name of Credit Union||Address||Telephone||Website|
|Colchester Credit Union Ltd||
Co-operative Resource Centre,
|Ipswich and Suffolk Credit Union Ltd||
63 Austin Street,
|Lichfield and Southtown Credit Union Ltd||
32 Southtown Road,
|Norfolk Credit Union Ltd||
South Norfolk House,
|Norwich Credit Union Ltd||
|Pillgate Credit Union Ltd||
East Norwich Area Office,
23 Pilling Park Road,
|Rainbow Saver Anglia Credit Union||
229 London Road,
|Suffolk C C Employees and Pensioners C U Ltd||
8 Russell Road,
|West Norwich Credit Union Ltd||
Earlham West Centre,
Last updated: 23 January 2012