The Credit Union Solutions Story.
In 2019, we changed the structure of Credit Union Solutions Ltd (CUS) to become a multi-stakeholder cooperative from a workers co-operative with eight directors, four from the senior CUS staff and one from each of our four clients’ credit unions.
The Directors of CUS are:
· Graham Tomlin – CEO
· Jill Oswell – Secretary
· Tracy – Operations Manager
· Chandra Shah – Finance Director
· Mukesh Malhotra – Chair of CUS and Thamesbank Credit Union
· Bindu Varkey – Chair of Oxfordshire Credit Union
· David Winder – Chair of M For Money Credit Union
· Philomena Johnson – Chair of Hertsavers Credit Union
In addition to the four credit unions which we currently work with, we have worked with the following credit unions in the past as well:
· Harp Credit Union
· The Caribbean Parents Group Credit Union
· Acton Credit Union now Credit Union for Brent & Ealing (CUBE)
· Milton Keynes Credit Union now Swan Credit Union
A brief history of how we started:
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.
All six credit unions were successful and gave dividends to their members.
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 who were:
Graham Tomlin – Chief Executive Officer
Jill Oswell – Company Secretary
Nicola Wareing – Chief Financial Officer
Credit Union Solutions employed four other staff at the time.
The five credit union clients that started the October 2014 financial year 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.