Susannah Kirkman reports on a new way to avoid loan sharks and bank charges.
How do you form a credit union?
1. Members must share a "common bond".
2. At least 22 members must undergo training, which can be provided by the credit unions' trade associations, the Association of British Credit Unions Limited (ABCUL) and the National Federation of Credit Unions (NFCU). Some local authorities employ credit union development workers who can offer training.
3. Most credit unions join ABCUL or the NFCU, which give useful support and can help with registration.
4. Every credit union must apply for registration from the Registry of Friendly Societies, which will make sure that the members are capable of running the scheme properly and establish whether members have a valid "common bond".
5. After registration, members must elect a board of directors.