All about credit unions
A credit union is a member owned, not for profit financial co-operative. Everyone who has savings in a credit union has a share in it. There are thousands of credit unions around the world, and nearly 600 in Britain alone with over 300,000 members. They are all run with similar aims in mind....to benefit members by providing savings and affordable loans, and to provide better financial opportunities for members. Members pool their own savings and lend them to each other at low interest rates. This small amount of interest is what is used to fund the ongoing work of the credit union.
Any profits (known as a surplus) made by a credit union are either invested in more services for members, or paid to members as a dividend or interest at the end of their financial year. Members of a credit union must share a common bond, such as living or working in an area, or working for the same employer. You can find out more about the World Council of Credit Unions here.
Pioneer Credit Union
Our primary aim at Pioneer is to provide our members with saving and affordable loan services, although we also offer some other services. We are a community based credit union, and want our members to be able to meet us in their communities as well as contact us in other ways. We are an ethical, fair organisation. We aim to be as inclusive as possible and to help the communities our members live in. We want to increase the number of collection points we can offer across the town so that we can increase our membership and help as many people as possible.
Pioneer Credit Union Ltd was formed in 2009 from a merger of four smaller community credit unions in Middlesbough - A19, Central Middlesbrough, Park End and West Central Middlesbrough. The common bond created was that members must live or work in the Middlesbrough authority area (within the area managed by Middlesbrough Council) and has recently added all tenants and employees of Thirteen Group to this.
Two further credit unions, Hemlington and TBN, joined Pioneer in October 2013, increasing the number of members, volunteers and collection points available across the town.
Pioneer is a voluntary run organisation, with a volunteer board of directors. We have an administrative office in Hemlington and hold regular monthly board meetings. We also hold an AGM (annual general meeting) every year which members are free to attend.
All of our members' savings are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, which means that, like with a bank account, any money in savings is safe and insured for up to £85,000.
Our Board of Directors
Key members of our board of directors include:
Simon Mitchell is the chair of Pioneer Credit Union and a member of the Credit Committee. He is also a Director of UK Credit Union (UKCU). Simon has been involved with credit unions since 2006 and started as a volunteer collector and assistant and has been part of Pioneer since its formation.
Rita Ragan is the Vice Chair of Pioneer, a director and also a member of the Credit Committee. Rita has been a volunteer with local credit unions since 2003 and has also been part of Pioneer since it was formed.
Doris Wilson is the Treasurer and Pioneer director. Doris has been been involved with credit unions for about 10 years.
Lyndsey Rhodes is the Secretary and a board director.
The other members of the board are Elaine Gilmour, Marie Foreman, Jan Ryles and Peter Rushton.