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Tel: 01224 576990 Fax: 01224 210132 Email:

21 August 2017
What is a Credit Union

What is a Credit Union?


The modern Credit Union movement traces its origins to ideas and values developed in the 19th century. In Britain they were the work of pioneers such as Robert Owen. In Germany there were innovators like Herman Schulze-Delitzsch and in North America Alphonse Desjardin was mapping his vision of co-operative credit.

The credit union movement grew quickly throughout America and Canada and soon began to have an influence on the rest of the world.

Credit unions in Jamaica began during the 1940s. Father John P Sullivan, a Jesuit priest, believed credit unions could help working people cope better with wartime conditions.

In Ireland the first credit union was founded in 1958, thanks to schoolteacher Nora Herlihy and colleagues in the Dublin Central Co-operative Society, which she helped to found. The first Irish credit union developed through contact with the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) in America.

Credit unions took some time to take off in England, Scotland and Wales. People who had seen the idea work in Ireland, the Caribbean, Canada and the US were amongst the first British credit union pioneers. However, over 1.2 million members in the UK have now recognized the value of credit unions, and have savings approaching 1.1 billion pounds with their credit unions.

In Ireland, over 75% of the population belong to a credit union. In America and Canada the figure is around 46%.


Grampian Credit Union is a community based financial co-operative owned, run and controlled by its members. All Credit Union members have something in common (the common bond) and every member has an equal vote in the running of the Credit Union.  The Grampian Credit Union common bond area is based on where members work or live, in our case the Grampian area of Scotland. Check if your home or workplace is located in our common bond area.

Grampian Credit Union is a financial co-operative run entirely by its members for the benefit of its members. It operates by pooling savings together to be used as a common fund from which members can apply for loans. Credit Unions encourage people to save, and members have financial security through low cost loans.
When someone joins the Credit Union they open an account (savings). It is called a share account because an individual becomes a part owner of the Credit Union. Since Credit Unions are not-for-profit organisations, any money made above the cost of operations is returned to the members in the form of dividend.
The Credit Unions Act was passed in 1979 to give a common regulation framework for the movement and, since then, the Credit Union philosophy of mutual self-help has gone from  strength to strength..



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Grampian Credit Union Tel: 01224 576990 Fax: 01224 210132 Email: Web:
Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority & regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority & the Prudential Regulation Authority. Firm Reference no. 213701