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Economic Justice

Three credit union personal loans awarded Fairbanking Foundation’s highest mark

The Fairbanking Foundation, the leading certification scheme for financial institutions in the UK, today officially awarded a five star rating to the personal loan products of three credit unions. The Hoot Credit Union, the 1st Class Credit Union and the NHS Credit Union have all been awarded the Fairbanking Mark in the highest possible category for their personal loans because they have a tangible positive impact on customers’ financial wellbeing.   The Fairbanking Foundation certification scheme encourages banking organisations to improve the financial well-being delivered by their products. The certification is granted in three, four or five star versions based on Fairbanking’s assessment of the level of the financial well-being the product delivers.


According to Antony Elliott, Chief Executive of the Fairbanking Foundation this new award shows that credit unions are playing an increasingly important role in people’s financial lives in the UK.  Fairbanking Foundation has now worked with seven credit unions to ensure their personal loan products are ready to be granted Fairbanking Marks. The award for the Handy Loan product of the Hoot CU is a reassuring sign that there are personal loans serving the financial wellbeing of customers with poor credit ratings for whom many less reputable alternatives exist.  The Foundation hopes that today’s awards will act as a catalyst for more credit unions to apply for the Fairbanking Mark to demonstrate the fair and transparent service they are offering to the communities they serve.


This is the first time that the Fairbanking Mark (used by banks like RBS and Natwest as a mark of the value their products have on customer financial wellbeing) has been awarded to credit unions that serve employees of a specific sector. The NHS Credit Union has over 13,000 members across the organisation and 1st Class credit union serves almost 9,000 members not just from the Royal Mail but other communications businesses including BT, 02 and Virgin Media.


The 5-star Fairbanking Mark for three personal loan products from Hoot Credit Union includes the Handy Loan which is the highest rate of interest that the Fairbanking Foundation has awarded its Fairbanking Mark to so far. The Fairbanking Foundation’s research shows that Hoot’s Handy Loan is designed to enable recipients to save a certain amount while repaying the loan, which helps to positively develop saving habits.