A credit union is a not-for-profit co-operative that aims to improve its members’ financial circumstances by providing affordable financial services to its members.
Since 1982, LMCU has been providing financial services to its members. It is the largest community credit union in London and one of the oldest and largest in Britain. As a financial cooperative, LMCU is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority which also regulates banks and building societies. We are also a member of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), registered with the Office of Fair Trading and hold a Consumer Credit Licence.
The very first credit unions were formed in Germany in 1849 to help people deal with problems caused by exorbitant interest rates and the lack of credit that people faced in difficult economic times. Since then credit unions have been formed all over the world to help people deal with financial difficulties and become financially stable. They aim to so do this by providing innovative and affordable savings, loans, banking and insurance products in a way that is appropriate to their members’ needs. As a member owned organization, our profits are shared among the entire membership and not among a small number of outside share holders. The history of the Credit Union movement demonstrates the core credit union principle of self help in action.
LMCU is working in partnership with both Southwark, Lambeth, Westminster and Cemden Councils to provide affordable financial services to their residents. We also work closely with a number of Housing Associations and local schools.
There are 27 major employers who currently work with LMCU and offer a payroll deduction facility to their employees. If you work for one of these employers, please let us know during the application process. This will help us in deciding if we are able to give you a loan or not.
In doing business, we like all other cooperatives, are guided by the Cooperative Values and Principles. This means we are committed to helping people to help themselves and to operate honestly and in an equitable manner. We are honest and open about what we do and how we do it and we carry out business in a way that is fair and unbiased. Caring for and supporting the communities we serve is an important part of our business philosophy. So we do business in a way that contributes to the social, economic and environmental well being of the communities in which our members live and work.
Assessing your ability to repay
Fairness is central to our cooperative business philosophy. In practice this is shown in the way our organisation and the individuals within it behave and think about fairness - it is our first thought not our last, a mindset - the DNA of our organization.
As an ethical and a fairer organization, we believe that borrowing money should be a carefully thought through process. The way we lend is built around your ability to repay. That is why we take necessary steps to assess your personal circumstances. It demonstrates our commitment to lend to you responsibly and to improve your financial welfare. If we think that your financial situation would be worse off as a result of our lending, we will not lend to you, as borrowing money sometimes may not be the answer to financial problems. Therefore we will do our best to assess your ability to repay your loans and other important commitments from your total income. When assessing your ability to repay, we would always use a third party credit reference agency. Also, we may have to seek further clarification about your financial circumstances from you. In some cases, we may not be able to lend for now, but could lend to you at a later date if your circumstances change or we may grant a smaller loan than you originally applied for.