Celebrating 25 Years of GMBCU

Date: 07 February 2024

2024 is an exciting year for GMBCU as we’re celebrating our 25th anniversary!  

Our Credit Union started small and simple. Now, it has become a trustworthy and honest provider of loans, savings and financial help for 600,000 GMB members and their families.  

Let’s highlight the key milestones that have shaped GMBCU’s journey. As an organisation that is 100% owned and operated by its members, we’ll also look at individual stories and how we’ve supported our members over the last 25 years. 


The GMBCU story  

Our GMBCU is one of community spirit and growth, starting back in 1999. We were a close-knit group committed to giving GMB members and their families an alternative, more ethical way to manage their money. Our goal was to offer fair and transparent savings and loan options. 

As we grew, our family expanded. We started reaching out from our Northwest roots to more GMB members, first in the Midlands and then across the UK. In 2007, a big leap happened. We welcomed our first full-time Credit Union Manager and opened our very own office. This was a home where we could serve our members with even more dedication.

Our evolution continued and in 2016. We took a significant step by renaming ourselves from Thorne Credit Union to GMB Credit Union. This new name mirrored our growing role and recognition in our community. 

Then came 2020, a landmark year. We were recognised by the PRA, part of the Bank of England, as a large Credit Union. This was a testament to our growth, stability and maturity in handling our responsibilities and the risks associated with being a larger Credit Union. 

Fast forward to 2021 …  our community grew to 10,000 members! A sign of the trust and friendship we’d built over the years.  


Supporting our members through challenging times 

The global financial climate has been difficult to navigate for our members over the past 25 years. Throughout global crises, we’ve been a steady and reliable ally for our members. 

More recently, as our members have been struggling with rising costs, GMBCU has been there to help our members manage their money. Over time, we’ve helped them become more comfortable and savvy with their financial wellbeing. 

Garry is one of the founding members and has been with us since the start. “Joining GMB Credit Union has helped me learn how to save, manage my money and feel more secure.” Garry’s story  

We all know the ups and downs life can sometimes bring. For our members, the ability to access a loan during tough times, especially when banks and other sources aren’t an option, has been a crucial lifeline. 

Patricia joined the credit union after a recommendation from a friend. When her father died overseas, she was able to obtain the funds to allow her to travel for his funeral. “GMBCU were able to provide me with the finance that I used to go home to bury my father I will forever be grateful.” Patricia’s story 

Dionne discovered GMBCU in its early days too. We helped Dionne and her son save and build financial security. “Everything is easy and manageable. Your savings are simply what you can comfortably afford each month. ”  Dionne’s story 

Developing and evolving  

Over the past 25 years, GMBCU has adapted to meet our members’ evolving needs and support their financial wellbeing. Throughout this time, we’ve seen significant changes and developments in technology. The way we search for and access information has changed, as have the ways in which we communicate with each other.   

As a financial organisation, it has been vital that we adapt to change in the right way; taking steps to keep up with technology while remaining accessible for all our members.  

That’s why we introduced an app called Nivo. It was a messaging app that allowed members to easily communicate with our team. Then, in 2023, we launched the GMBCU app. It has a lot more features, allowing members to view their accounts, apply for loans, access their membership details and much more.  

Chris – a GMB member – explains how the app makes his life easier: “I don’t have to be geared up to make a phone call. Literally, quick message, off it goes. I can get on with my day and GMBCU can get on with things as and when they’re ready too.” Chris’ story  

Just like our approach to savings and loans, we’ve also evolved in how we present ourselves to our members and the world. Our logo and overall look have changed with the times, always reflecting who we are as a Credit Union and what we stand for. Teaming up with our marketing friends at MP&Co, we’ve brought some exciting things to life. Think about the fun charity prize draw we kicked off in 2021 or our shiny new website that debuted in 2023. 

By focusing on our marketing efforts, we’ve made our communication more engaging and warm. It’s not just about talking; it’s about sharing and learning together. This includes everything from the helpful resources on our website, the Member Helper area, to our educational blogs. We’re all about growing our financial know-how as one big, supportive family. 


The present day – we’re here to stay 

We’re proud of what we’ve been able to achieve as a community over the past 25 years. 

Some statistics worth shouting about: 

  • Since 1999, GMBCU has provided fair, affordable loans totalling over £75 million to GMB Members 
  • 2023 saw our ethical savings total reach £11.4 million 
  • We’ve shared over £1.6 million in dividends to our members on their savings 

Behind every number is a story; a person, or a family who we’ve supported. With over 10,000 members, GMBCU is excited to offer continued support to our growing community in the years to come. 

David Castledine, GMBCU’s Treasurer, says:  

“It brings me great joy to reflect on the last 25 years. We’ve been on an incredible journey of growth and learning. Going forward, we’ll continue to support our members’ financial wellbeing and empower our community through the brilliant savings, loans, and education we provide.”  

Keep up to date with our 25-year celebrations, and all the latest GMBCU news, by following us on  Facebook and Instagram.