Merger creates SW England’s largest credit union

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31st March 2021

Bristol Credit Union (BCU) has expanded its membership after completing a merger with Wyvern Savings and Loans (WSL), helping thousands of people across South West England access an attractive range of alternative, low-cost financial services. The transfer of engagements was completed on 25 March, with all assets and liabilities of WSL transferring to BCU. The merger creates the region’s biggest credit union, adding a further 3,000 members and £1.9m in deposits to BCU’s existing 16,000 members and £7m deposits.

The newly merged credit unions will continue to operate under their regional identities, with a new umbrella brand to be announced soon. Wyvern Savings and Loans will trade under the new name of Dorset Credit Union, with the Dorchester branch providing a base for services in the Dorset and South Somerset area. The merger will expand BCU’s reach, helping them to deliver more and better services for existing and new members as well as creating sustainable jobs.

Together, the organisations are aiming to increase takeup of their responsible lending, supporting BCU’s goal to triple its membership over the next five years. The credit unions offer an alternative to high street banks, making finance simpler and more affordable. Also, when members access these services, money is reinvested into local neighbourhoods, businesses and economies.

James Berry, CEO of Bristol Credit Union, said:

“With the merger complete, we can increase our capacity and reach, allowing more people in the Dorset and Wyvern area access to fairer finance. Across our 22-year history, we have helped more than 30,000 people to start saving and approved over 42,000 loan applications including both smaller, short-term loans as well as low-interest rate larger loans, for example for home improvements. This move also means our social impact has a broader geographical base for our members’ money to do good in supporting community needs."

As lockdown restrictions begin to ease, our credit unions are here to provide financial stability for the long road ahead.

Tim Topper, Director of Wyvern Savings and Loans, commented:

“Members of Wyvern Savings and Loans can look forward to the same friendly and locally focused support they have received in the past, whilst gaining access to Bristol Credit Union’s progressive and alternative financial services. The move will allow us to extend our membership to reach new people across our region and help financially support those who need it most.”

Alongside BCU’s merger, the digital platform is key to the credit union’s future expansion by meeting members’ needs through innovative technology. With this development, BCU is aiming to become the first choice for ethical and affordable finance in the South West, establishing BCU as a leader in the thriving fintech sector. 

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