Credit unions

We regulate around 470 UK credit unions. 

Latest updates

In August 2018, we emailed Category 5 credit unions with the findings of the 2018 assessment. Credit unions received one of three letters, depending on which peer group they fell into. 

Registration, authorisation and approvals

Credit unions need to apply to us for authorisation and approvals (including the Senior Managers Regime), and they also need to register with the Financial Conduct Authority before they can offer financial services.

New firm authorisations 

Senior Managers Regime forms and notes

Credit unions may submit paper forms to the Prudential Regulation Authority and these should be sent to Authorisations Division, Prudential Regulation Authority, 20 Moorgate, London EC2R 6DA.

The following forms can be found on the Senior Managers Regime page:
  • Application to perform controlled functions under the Senior Managers Regime.
  • Notice to withdraw an application to perform controlled functions under the Senior Managers Regime.
  • Notice of ceasing to perform controlled functions.
  • Notification of changes in personal information or application details.
  • Statement of Responsibilities.

If you require further information, contact the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) Firm Enquiries Team on:
Phone: 020 3461 7000 (operating hours 9am-5pm)
Email: PRA.FirmEnquiries@bankofengland.co.uk

Rules and legislation for credit unions

The rules and legislation applying to credit unions are available in the following publications:

Our rules and expectations

Credit unions in the PRA Rulebook

Supervisory Statement 2/16: 'The prudential regulation of credit unions' 

Core legislation for credit unions

The Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014

For credit unions in Great Britain:

Credit Unions Act 1979

The Legislative Reform (Industrial and Provident Societies and Credit Unions) Order 2011

For credit unions in Northern Ireland:

Credit Unions (Northern Ireland)

Order 1985

Depositor protection and credit unions

The rules for deposit takers (i.e. banks, building societies and credit unions) and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) ensure that eligible depositors (including individuals and businesses) will be compensated up to £85,000 if a deposit taker fails.

The Deposit Guarantee Schemes Directive (DGSD) requires deposit guarantee schemes (i.e. the FSCS in the UK) to pay compensation to depositors in respect of covered deposits within 20 business days of the default of a deposit taker. By 2024 this will be reduced to seven days.

A key element in being able to compensate depositors quickly is the requirement for deposit takers to maintain a single customer view (SCV) and exclusions file, and to be able to provide them to the PRA or FSCS on request within 24 hours. Both files provide the FSCS with the information required to make a payout, with a target of seven days from default for most depositors and in any event within the timeframes prescribed by the DGSD.

Since the SCV requirements were introduced, there have been a small number of deposit taker defaults. In each instance, by utilising the SCV, the FSCS has been able to make payments to most eligible depositors in less than seven days.

Single customer view (SCV) requirements and guidance

SCV requirements are set out in the depositor protection part of the PRA Rulebook.

More information on the SCV is available in Chapter 8 of Depositor and dormant account protection - Supervisory Statement 18/15. Firms may also find the FSCS’s SCV guide useful when considering deposit protection issues.

Some of the requirements are summarised below. However, credit unions should refer to the PRA Rulebook and relevant supervisory statement for full details.

Exclusions file

The requirements for the exclusions file are also set out in the depositor protection part of the PRA Rulebook. They have been in force since 1 December 2016. The rules require deposit takers to provide this information in the same format and to the same timeframe as the SCV file.

The exclusions file will contain those accounts which contain or may contain eligible deposits to which the account holder is not absolutely entitled or accounts that might be inactive (e.g. beneficiary legally dormant, and legally disputed accounts).

Material changes to SCV systems

Credit unions are required to notify us of any material change to their SCV systems. A material change would include changes that would have a material impact on a firm’s SCV system. For example, there is likely to be a material change in a firm’s SCV system upon a merger or acquisition of a deposit book, or the introduction of a new IT system that relates to the firm’s SCV system.

SCV electronic reporting

All credit unions are subject to electronic reporting of SCV.

Dormant accounts

Some credit unions mark accounts as inactive/dormant after a period of inactivity. For the avoidance of doubt, any account that does not meet the legal definition of dormancy as defined in section 10 of the Dormant Bank and Building Society Accounts Act 2008 must appear on the SCV file. Legally dormant accounts are accounts that meet the specific definition of being inactive for 15 years – meaning that there has been no customer-initiated transaction in the last 15 years. Such legally dormant accounts must instead be included in the credit union’s exclusions file that accompanies its SCV file.

Newly authorised credit unions

We will contact newly authorised credit unions and expect them to undergo FSCS verification within six months of receiving their Part 4A permissions to accept deposits.

Ongoing SCV verification

As part of the ongoing work relating to SCV for credit unions, we have committed to a continuous review of a sample of credit unions’ SCV files as part of our usual supervisory work. The process will start with a request for the submission of a SCV effectiveness report and marking effectiveness report. This may be followed by a request for your SCV file from the FSCS. Credit unions will then receive feedback from the FSCS on the usability and quality of their SCV file and SCV policies and procedures. 

Further information and contact us

Further information

PRA 2017 annual assessment of the credit union sector

In August 2017, the PRA emailed Category 5 credit unions with the findings of the 2017 assessment. Credit unions received one of three letters, depending on which peer group they fell into. The PRA also emailed Category 4 credit unions with a letter setting out themes seen across that population. All four letters are available below.

 

Please see The National Archives for any relevant material not available on this page.

The National Archives

Contact us

If you have any questions about how we regulate credit unions, contact Firm Enquiries on +44 (0) 20 3461 7000 or email PRA.FirmEnquiries@bankofengland.co.uk.

This page was last updated 29 August 2018
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