Update on the Credit Union movement in the UK and Ireland (by Caroline Whyte)

There have been many changes in the UK credit union movement from 1996 to 2002. Rebecca Edwards of ABCUL commented in an August 2002 e-mail that "there are now close to 400,000 people in credit unions, and the biggest have almost 20,000 members (bigger than some small building societies). Common bond sizes have also changed - Leeds has a credit union that anyone in the city can join, there is another in Scotland covering the borders and Lothian areas, and there is a police credit union that all Policemen in England and Wales can join. Maximum interest rate is still 12.68% - but many credit unions now charge less than this, and the limit on savings has been pretty much removed for the larger credit unions".

In Ireland, the interest rate also remains at 12.68%. The government has recently introduced a scheme whereby people who open a Special Savings incentive Account in a credit union have their savings "topped up" by the government, at a ratio of EU 1 for every EU 4 saved. Information about this scheme can be found on the Irish League of Credit Union's website.

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