Leeds City Credit Union

The flagship branch in Leeds City Centre

Leeds Credit Union
Founded1987
TypeIndustrial and Provident Society
Location
  • 2nd Floor, Westminster Buildings, New York Street, Leeds LS2 7DT
Key people
Chris Smyth, Chief Executive
Websiteleedscitycreditunion.co.uk

Leeds City Credit Union Limited is a not-for-profit member-owned financial co-operative, formed in 1987 and based in the West Yorkshire city of Leeds. White Rose Credit Union, of Wakefield, and Your Loan Shop are trading names of Leeds City Credit Union.[1][2]

History[edit]

The credit union began life as the Leeds City Council Employees Credit Union, offering savings and loans to local authority staff. In 1997, it became a community credit union, open to everyone living or working in the local authority area.

Leeds is the second largest metropolitan borough council in the UK with a population of 800,000. While continuing to serve members from 2006 to 2008, Leeds City Credit Union experienced a number of management and governance challenges. This led to an independent review of governance and the appointment of a new management team and a number of new directors.[3][4][5][6][7]

Since 2009, Leeds City Credit Union has re-emerged as the country's largest credit union with over 35,000 members.[8] In 2012, members adopted a new constitution to take advantage of The Legislative Reform (Industrial and Provident Societies and Credit Unions) Order 2010.[9] This has given the credit union new powers including the ability to extend its common bond to employers and organisations outside Leeds, to offer business accounts and interest on savings.[10] In 2013, Leeds City Credit Union selected Intermarketing Agency as its marketing agency, following a pitch process.[11]

In 2014, Lloyds Bank piloted a project in conjunction with Leeds City to encourage its staff to direct customers towards credit unions.[12] It was awarded a grant of £50,000 by the Lloyds Banking Group Credit Union Development Fund to help support its reserves and enable it to bring forward plans for growth more quickly.[13]

In July 2015, Leeds City Credit Union became members of Leeds Citizens, a new diverse alliance of organisations which aims to campaign for social justice and the common good. On 3 September 2015, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Harriett Baldwin[14] visited the credit union to discuss the important role that credit unions play in the financial sector. On 11 September 2015, a Your Loan Shop information point at the Compton Centre, Leeds was officially opened by LCC Executive Member for Communities, Cllr. Debra Coupar (Lab. Cross Gates and Whinmoor) and rising Leeds Rhinos RLFC star, Liam Sutcliffe.[15]

Mergers[edit]

Seacroft Credit Union (established 1997) transferred engagements to Leeds City Credit Union in 2001, followed by Skyrack Credit Union (established 1991 as South Headingley and Burley Savings and Co-operative Credit Union) and Halton Moor Co-operative Savings and Credit Union (established 1988) in 2002. More recently, White Rose Credit Union (established 1997 and incorporating the engagements of United Stream Credit Union) transferred in 2014.[16]

Activities[edit]

Registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts, Leeds City Credit Union is governed by a volunteer board of directors who are elected at the Annual General Meeting.[17] It has branches in Armley, Merrion House Leeds, Middleton, Kirkgate, Dewsbury Road and Seacroft. In 2014, it extended its reach to cover Wakefield where it has branches in the WDH City Centre Hub and the library building in Hemsworth.

In June 2015, Leeds City Council teamed up with the credit union to as part of a scheme to tackle empty homes.[18]

Leeds City Credit Union also has two other customer facing outlets named 'Your Loan Shop'. For August and September 2014, Your Loan Shop had 364 visits in person and 118 web enquiries, resulting in 103 loans being issued to the value of £87,718.[19] In August 2015, Your Loan Shop celebrated its first birthday[20] by announcing it has helped over 600 people in Leeds and saved the people of Leeds approximately a quarter of a million pounds in higher interest charges compared to other loan shop lenders.

Membership of Leeds City Credit Union is restricted by common bond to individuals living or working in the cities of Leed, Wakefield and Harrogate where it continues to trade under the White Rose name in partnership with Harrogate Borough Council. Residents of certain housing associations[21] and staff of select employers are also eligible to join.[22]

Products[edit]

Leeds City Credit Union runs a payroll deduction savings and loans scheme in conjunction with Leeds City Council and select local employers. The credit union is responsible for the operation of the scheme, with the employer facilitating monthly deductions from salary.[23] A payment card, accepted at Post Office and PayPoint outlets, can also be issued to members on request.[24]

Credit unions do not pay a fixed rate of interest on savings balances. Instead, they distribute any trading surplus to members in the form of an annual dividend calculated on average savings or as a rebate of loan interest paid.

Leeds City Credit Union is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and PRA. Ultimately, like the banks and building societies, members' savings are protected against business failure by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.[25] As a current account provider, the credit union also subscribes to the Banking Code.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Help for hard-up Leeds families to escape the lure of unscrupulous lenders this Christmas Yorkshire Evening Post, 9 December 2014
  2. ^ Sharman, Laura Loan shop takes on pay day lenders LocalGov, 5 August 2014
  3. ^ Smith, Lewis Former head of Britain's biggest credit union declared bankrupt The Independent, 15 August 2009
  4. ^ Leigh, Debbie No charges against ex-Leeds City Credit Union boss Yorkshire Evening Post, 24 May 2012
  5. ^ Big credit union overcomes shameful history The Yorkshire Post, 26 September 2012
  6. ^ Woman stole £12,000 from Leeds City Credit Union Yorkshire Evening Post, 26 September 2012
  7. ^ Barrett, David Criminals to be named and shamed by Home Office The Daily Telegraph, 14 October 2012
  8. ^ Hudson, Neil Plan to pull thousands in Leeds out of debt spiral Yorkshire Evening Post, 21 January 2015
  9. ^ Ed Balls to promote Credit Unions The Yorkshire Times, 12 January 2012
  10. ^ Read, Simon Credit union in first national tie-up The Independent, 25 June 2013
  11. ^ West, Gillian Leeds City Credit Union appoints Intermarketing Agency The Drum, 10 July 2013
  12. ^ Read, Simon Lloyds agrees £4m plan for credit union grants The Independent, 23 June 2014
  13. ^ 2014 Winners Credit Union Foundation (retrieved 5 August 2018)
  14. ^ "Minister praises UK's credit unions". The Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  15. ^ "Rival to high-cost lenders". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  16. ^ Yorkshire credit unions merge Insider, 13 January 2014
  17. ^ Governance Leeds City Credit Union (retrieved 10 February 2015)
  18. ^ "Leeds City Credit Union". Leeds City Credit Union. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  19. ^ Bowyer, Laura and Brown, Jonathan YEP Leeds survey: Foodbanks a consideration as readers reveal debt worries Yorkshire Evening Post, 23 October 2014
  20. ^ "What a difference a year makes". Social Enterprise Yorkshire and Humber. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
  21. ^ Advice for tenants to avoid vicious cycle of debt Grimsby Telegraph, 20 January 2014
  22. ^ Join Us Leeds City Credit Union (retrieved 10 February 2015)
  23. ^ Saving from Your Pay – For Employees Leeds City Credit Union (retrieved 10 February 2015)
  24. ^ Membership Account Leeds City Credit Union (retrieved 10 February 2015)
  25. ^ Credit Union Guide Financial Services Compensation Scheme (retrieved 2 April 2015)

External links[edit]