Credit Union eyes expansion after celebrating 10 years - The Rugby Observer

Credit Union eyes expansion after celebrating 10 years

Rugby Editorial 2nd Jul, 2014 Updated: 27th Oct, 2016   0

A MOVE to a central, higher profile location is the aim of Rugby Credit Union as it celebrates its 10th anniversary.

Chairman Laurie Bird even hinted the next decade in its history could see a merger with other credit unions around Coventry and Warwickshire as they bid to become the ethical alternative to high street banks.

He told The Observer: “I think people trust us and I think people like to support us and come to us because they know they are not going to get ripped off.

“But it’s hard being a relatively small credit union, the more successful ones are those that have merged so there’s definitely a way forward with that.

“There are five credit unions in Coventry and Warwickshire, and creating one big one for the whole area is something that probably could happen 10 years down the line. I believe a way could be found to get them all together.”

The credit union is a small cooperative that offers low cost loans to people who live or work in Rugby. It is run largely by volunteers and is funded with the help of grants from the likes of the borough council, but mainly by the money people have in savings accounts.

Since launching in 2004 it has built up a membership of 900 members, including 600 active members and 250 junior members, and among its schemes run from its base down Regent Street are school banks and a link up with Co-op Electrical central warehouse to offer loans to people to buy electrical goods in instalments.

It runs similar stringent checks on potential borrowers to other financial institutions, but due to its size has to be more cautious in its lending as a result of the lower levels of interest it can charge which in turn limits its own growth.

In the past decade low cost loans of £750,000 have been approved with funds available to take its lending this year to £1m.

“No credit union has money that it does not know what to do with, it’s all ploughed back,” Mr Bird told us.

“But for the past four or five years people have been reluctant to take out a loan whereas before 2008 every pound was out. It dropped to less than half but is growing again which is a good sign that people are better off and feel in a position to be able to pay money back.”

High profile backing came from the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby last year following his declaration of war on high-interest pay day loan firms.

“It’s good that it’s bought more awareness of credit unions but we are still waiting to see what its really means,” added Mr Bird.

“Churches can help credit unions is some ways, collections points and opening up a dialogue for us with their various community groups but nothing has happened yet.

“I think they could help us with accommodation in a more central location than we are now with a peppercorn rent. That would be of huge help to us. But regardless of what happens it’s good to have that sort of endorsement.”

Rugby Credit Union can be contacted on 01788 577900.

Mayor Ramesh Srivastava also cut the celebratory cake. 26.014.005.rug.jm2

Credit Union officer manager Ami Mistry, Mayor Ramesh Srivastava and credit union chairman Laurie Bird. Picture by Jon Mullis 26.014.005.rug.jm1 (


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