The London Capital Credit Union is a not-for-profit cooperative that provides savings and loans to people who live, work or study in Islington, Barnet, Camden, City of London, Hackney or Haringey. Regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA), members’ savings are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
The credit union encourages saving as an alternative to borrowing, but also provides fair and transparent loans to members – as an alternative to legal loan sharks, which have grown fat since the credit crunch.
The credit union operates democratically: each member has one vote. There are no shareholders, so it can be run for the benefit of its members, both savers and borrowers, to whom profits are returned.
I joined the credit union partly as a protest against the activities of the legal loan sharks, but mainly to support a (relatively) local financial institution that promotes the financial well-being of its members, instead of shareholders. I also like the way volunteers support the professional team, which provides job opportunities in the financial sector to people who would not otherwise be able to gain the required experience.
It was astonishingly quick and easy to open an account. And it shouldn’t be difficult for the credit union dividend to beat the banks’ rate on savings, either.