1. ITV Report

Factfile: What are credit unions?

Almost one million Brits are already members of a credit union. Photo: PA Wire

The Archbishop of Canterbury has told payday lender Wonga that the Church of England wants to "compete" it out of existence as part of its plans to expand credit unions as an alternative.

What is a credit union?

  • They are small non-profit financial organisations set up by members with something in common to benefit their community
  • That common factor may be living in the same town, working in the same industry (for example, the Police Credit Union) or belonging to a particular trade union
  • Roughly 500 credit unions cover the UK offering loans, savings and current accounts to their members - a few even offer mortgages
The Most Rev Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

Who is eligible to join?

Each credit union is specific - the joining rules were slightly relaxed in January 2012, but generally to become a member of a credit union you must share a "common bond" with other members.

These include:

  • Living or working in the same area
  • Working for the same employer as the other members
  • Belonging to the same church, trade union, or other association

Organisations as well as individuals can become members under the new rules.

Almost one million Brits are already members of a credit union.

How do I find my local credit union?

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