12 February 2021
From 103 to 32,000 members - 30 years of Manchester Credit Union
- Our Chief Executive Christine Moore reflects on Manchester Credit Union’s past, present and future as we celebrate the big ‘30’…
"It’s hard to believe that it’s 30 years ago that Manchester Credit Union was registered as a credit union, although at the time it was ‘Beswick and Openshaw’ Credit Union (BOCU)
In those days, when credit unions were set up in Manchester as part of an anti-poverty strategy, there was no thought about whether or not this small area in one of the most deprived areas of Manchester could actually sustain a credit union in the long term.
Set up in conjunction with the local Church of the Resurrection, and run entirely by volunteers, it was a world away from where we are now! That small group of dedicated volunteers did a fantastic job of keeping the credit union going until September 2000. At that point, with the help of some urban regeneration funding through New East Manchester, they expanded the area that our services cover to the whole of East Manchester, opened their first shop front and employed me as the manager.
After being involved in the credit union movement for a number of years as a volunteer director and community development worker, I was delighted to get the job of developing BOCU into what we are today - a thriving and professional business with its members’ interests at the heart of everything we do. It is the hardest, but most exciting, challenging and rewarding job I have ever done!
We would not be where we are today without the unfailing support and hard work of the staff, directors, and most importantly the volunteers from all the pioneering credit unions who are now part of the Manchester Credit Union family, including Money Spinner Credit Union in Hattersley from whom we learnt so much. Literally hundreds of volunteers who dedicated endless hours in order to bring the benefits of credit unions to their communities.
When I first joined, there were 103 members, and I was the first and only paid member of staff. Today we have over 32,000 members and all day to day transactions are handled by a fantastic team of 23 staff. We estimate that we save local people in excess of £5million in interest each year, compared to doorstep and other high cost lenders.
When we reached our 21st anniversary we had a fabulous party and celebration in Manchester Town Hall - unfortunately we are unable to do that this year, but please look out for stories from founding members and competitions to mark this, our 30th anniversary."
To celebrate our 30th anniversary, we are giving one lucky winner a hamper packed full of Manchester made goodies worth £200!