Who can join?

All SCVO employees or anyone who is a trustee, a full or part-time employee or volunteer of any organisation that is a registered member of SCVO.

Partners and family members can also join, as long as they live at the same home address.

How does the credit union work?

It is a democratic, financial co-operative.

  • It provides savings and loan services
  • It is not for profit
  • It is owned and controlled by its members

Members’ savings are referred to as shares, each having a value of £1 each. These shares are then pooled and loaned out to other investors or invested in other financial institutions.

After administration costs are deducted and prudent reserves established, any surplus is distributed back to the members as a dividend. By restricting membership, the original Credit Union principle of mutual self-help is preserved.

Is there a membership fee?

A one-time membership fee of £5 is payable by all new Credit Union members: this amount will be deducted from your first payment.

How much can I borrow and what’s the repayment period?

You can borrow up to three times your savings balance, up to a maximum of £5,000 and over a three year repayment period. All loans are granted at the discretion of the credit committee.

How soon can I take out a loan?

You have to be a member of the SCVO Credit Union for three months before you can apply for a loan. We do have a policy against the use of share loading, which is the deposit of a lump sum to increase the savings balance simply in order to increase the amount that can be borrowed.

What are the repayment costs?

Under the law, credit unions are restricted to a loan rate of 1% per month on the reducing balance. That works out to a very modest 12.68% APR.

You can use our loan repayment calculator as a guide to see what you would pay back.

The example below shows a typical borrowing on £1000 at 1% per month (APR 12.68%).

Amount borrowed


Your monthly repayments


over 12 months



over 24 months



over 36 months


Can I make cash payments?

Because we are a national credit union, it is not possible to deal with cash transactions. Therefore we offer two alternatives for payment:

  • By completing the direct debit form, we will automatically withdraw the agreed amount from your bank account on the first of each month.
  • We also offer monthly payments by payroll deduction. To make this service viable, we require a minimum of five members in an organisation who have prior approval from their payroll Dept. Once this is obtained, the Credit Union will liaise directly to enable this service to proceed.

Any loans granted are paid directly into the bank account nominated in your application form or subsequently amended in writing.

What can I borrow money for?

For any purpose that you require funds for. For example, household goods, holidays, Christmas expenses, car repairs, bill payments, redecoration, special occasions or emergency assistance.

Who manages the SCVO Credit Union?

Management of the SCVO Credit Union is by a volunteer board of directors who are elected at the annual meeting by fellow members. The credit committee, who deal with loan applications, and the supervisory committee who audit the operation, are also elected by members, under the one member, one vote system

Do I get a dividend on my savings?

When the Credit Union achieves the level of income from loans for all expenses to be paid, any surplus is divided between reserves and a dividend payment. The amount is decided at the AGM in line with our not-for-profit philosophy.

Are my savings protected?

It is a requirement of the Credit Union Act 1979 that all credit unions have a bonding insurance to protect members’ savings from fraud and dishonesty. Savings protection is also provided by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Life insurance cover, within certain limits, is provided for loans and savings balances at no cost to our members