The Credit Union Solutions Story
Jill Oswell, Jill Short, Bernadette Geraghty and I set up Credit Union Solutions in the year 2000.
Our first client was Hounslow Council Employees Credit Union which much later morphed into Thamesbank Credit Union. Gradually we added Harp Credit Union; The Caribbean Parents Group Credit Union and Acton Credit Union which has now developed into Credit Union Brent and Ealing (CUBE).
In 2003 we successfully bid for funding to establish M for Money Credit Union.
Over the intervening years the Caribbean Parents Group and Harp stopped operating until we were left with just three credit unions Thamesbank; M for Money and CUBE.
In 2011 a chance telephone conversation with Philip Turnbull then the Chair of Milton Keynes Credit Union resulted in them becoming our fourth client.
Gradually Milton Keynes Credit Union grew to absorb Aylesbury Credit Union and later became Swan Credit Union.
Soon Oxfordshire Credit Union, after talking to Swan Credit Union contacted Credit Union Solutions and became in 2013 our fifth client following their failure to get agreement to merge with Blackbird Leys Credit Union.
Out of the blue in 2015 we were approached by Anthony Bailey the Manager of Hertsavers who informed us that their offices in Hatfield were being repossessed by the council and as such their Board felt that joining the Credit Union Solutions client group would enable greater growth and more certain survivability.
Taking on three new clients in four years has been a challenge but the results speak for themselves.
M for Money; CUBE; Thamesbank; Hertsavers; Swan and Oxfordshire credit unions have all managed massive restructuring of their boards of Directors.
M for Money; Thamesbank and Swan all gave dividends to members this year and next year I am certain that Oxfordshire and CUBE will also offer their members a dividend.
Both Swan and M for Money have community development workers and Oxfordshire plan to follow suit shortly.
Since Hertsavers joined us we have had two more enquiries from prospective clients and whereas in the past this would have given us significant trepidation now we are much more confident that we can handle the challenges that taking on new clients brings.
In 2012 Credit Union Solutions became a Worker’s Coop with three Directors they are:
Graham Tomlin – Chief Executive Officer
Jill Oswell – Company Secretary
Nicola Wareing – Chief Financial Officer
Credit Union Solutions employs four other staff and is currently recruiting a fifth.
The five credit union clients that started the October 2014 financial year have all made substantial progress in lending and membership.
If your credit union would like to join Credit Union Solutions or if you would like to replicate what we do we can help. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call him on 0208 573 8010.
Sharing works and we can prove it. Small credit unions are vulnerable and fragile and our Regulator continues to demand higher standards increasing the challenges that we all face.
In our experience mergers do not work. Transfers of engagements are an option but tend to be at the cost of one or both of the credit unions identity.
Sharing cooperatively keeps standards high; improves member satisfaction; ensures better service for members and lets Directors concentrate on the Business Plan and GROWTH.