Berkshire Credit Union transforms itself

Berkshire Credit Union (BCU) has made “a promising start to a very long road to recover from our poor history,” said Gordon Ross, BCU treasurer, at their annual general meeting on 27 April.

BCU is a co-operative social enterprise owned, managed and run by members and volunteers. Its objectives are to promote thrift amongst members, offer credit to members at a fair rate and to educate them in financial literacy.

The credit union started in 2007 and had loaned out £1.5 million by December 2015, but was hit by high operating costs and bad debt until 2014. The credit union had also been partly supported by council and housing association grants.

Since 2014, the credit union has reduced their annual operating costs by £40,000 per year, partly by moving to less expensive premises on Portman Road, and made their credit assessment and control processes more robust to risk.

“We’ve completed our main objective to wean ourselves off of council grants. A key thing is that we should live within our means,” Gordon Ross told the AGM. “We’ve learned our lesson not to lend to people off the street!”

As a result, the credit union has made an operating profit each month during the year ending September 2015.

BCU now offers low interest member reward loans for members who have saved regularly for at least 12 months and a child benefit loan for members who pay their child benefit into a BCU account.

BCU chair Tom McClelland told the AGM that the credit union has founded a charity Berkshire Moneywise who accept donations to support the credit union’s work in promoting thrift and financial literacy, particularly with children in local schools.


Links

  1. Berkshire Credit Union on Twitter and Facebook
  2. Berkshire Credit Union – Annual Report
  3. Berkshire Credit Union – Financial Statements for the year ended 30 September 2015
  4. Berkshire Money Wise
  5. What is a credit union? Answered at Which? and moneysavingexpert.com
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