Credit unions—essentials
Credit unions—essentials

The following Financial Services practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Credit unions—essentials
  • Core elements of credit unions
  • The UK perspective
  • Credit unions and the regulators
  • International perspectives
  • Interest rate cap

Core elements of credit unions

Credit unions are a type of financial services firm that provide savings, insurance and credit opportunities. Credit unions are a type of mutual society, in that they are owned by account-holding members and the profits are for the benefit of such members. In Great Britain, credit unions are established under the Credit Unions Act 1979 (CUA 1979) and the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014 (CCBSA 2014). For more information about co-operative and community benefit societies, see Practice Note: Co-operative and community benefit societies.

The objects of credit unions, as defined by the Credit Unions Act 1979 (CUA 1979), are:

  1. the promotion of thrift among members by the accumulation of savings

  2. the creation of sources of credit for the benefit of members at a fair and reasonable rate of interest

  3. the use and control of members' savings for their mutual benefit

  4. the training and education of members in the wise use of money and in the management of their financial affairs

Historically, a credit union was based on a 'common bond' shared by its members, such as a geographical area, a profession or an affiliation with a particular organisation. As a result of changes introduced by the Legislative Reform (Industrial and Provident Societies and Credit Unions) Order 2011, SI 2011/2687, these common bonds to be combined to some extent. Credit unions

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