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A credit union is a self-help co-operative whose members pool their savings to provide each other with credit at a low interest rate. To be part of a credit union you have to share a common bond with other members. This is something you all have in common such as:

living or working in the same area
working for the same employer
belonging to the same church, trade union or other association.
Each credit union has its own common bond, but this will usually be based on the examples above. If a credit union’s rules allow, it may have more than one common bond. This means a common bond based on a local community organisation, such as a tenants’ association or a social club attached to a workplace, may be combined with common bond based on living or working in an area. So if you live outside an area that a credit union serves, you could still join it, if you’re a tenant in a housing association that’s linked to the credit union or you’re an employee of a national company whose local workplace is linked to the credit union.

If one member of your family is already a member of a credit union, other relatives living at the same address can usually join too.

Citizens Advice: Credit Union Information