Some of the questions our members frequently ask:

What is a Credit Union?

A Credit Union is a democratic, financial co-operative owned and controlled by its members. Each Credit Union is run only to benefit its members, all of whom share a common bond.

What is a common bond?

The common bond is the factor that unites every Credit Union member. It is what every member of a particular Credit Union has in common. Your CU is based upon a community bond, where all members live or work within a defined locality.  Benarty and Lochgelly Credit Union’s common bond covers everyone who lives or works in the area.

How is a Credit Union different?

A Credit Union is different because it is not owned by any one person, organisation or group of shareholders. Instead, each Credit Union is owned by its members, and each member has an equal say in the running of their Credit Union. As a ‘not-for-profit’ organisation, members’ savings are used to fund loans to members at reasonable rates of interest. Similarly, the interest charged on loans is used to fund a return (or dividend) on members’ savings.

Is my money safe?

Your savings are 100% safe. All savings with Benarty and Lochgelly Credit Union are covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme

How do I become a member?

Simply visit our main office or any of our collection points (branches) and fill out a membership application form.  You’ll need to bring two pieces of identification with you such as:

  • Photographic ID such as a valid passport or driving licence.
  • Bank / building society / Post Office statement or utility bill dated within the last three months.
  • Letter from DWP, Fife Council, other Government body, etc, dated with the last three months.

We recognise that not everybody will have these so don’t hesitate to call us on 01592 868 800 or 758596 so we can advise you on alternative documentation if necessary.

What services are available to members?

The services offered may vary from one Credit Union to another, depending on the needs of members. Benarty and Lochgelly Credit Union offers savings and loan facilities, the option to pay a benefit directly into their account and the use of a prepaid CHANGE Mastercard. 

I am a new member, when can I start borrowing?


New members are required to build up a record of savings before applying for a loan. Though each member’s circumstances are unique, it is recommended that members save regularly for approximately 8 weeks before borrowing. A first loan is usually for a maximum amount of twice the amount you have in your shares, though usually this is capped at £500 over and above your share balance.

I’ve had an emergency and need a loan now, is that possible?

If you are receiving benefits, you may be entitled to borrow up to £250 quite quickly with one of our Handy Loans charged at 34.49% APR.  Your benefit must start coming in to your credit union account before your loan can be paid out to you.

How much am I entitled to borrow?

For existing members there are no hard and fast rules about how much a member is entitled to borrow, subject to terms and conditions. Every loan application is treated strictly on its own merits as each member’s circumstances are unique. It is advisable to have a good record of savings and previous loan repayments, if applicable, and all loans are checked by our Loans Officer(s) to ensure you are able to afford the repayments.

Who can open a Junior Account for a child?

The child’s parent or legal guardian can open an account for a child.  They must present the child’s birth certificate and/or passport.  They must also produce two forms of ID for themselves (as above). Where a withdrawal is requested from a junior account, the sponsor must sign the withdrawal form.

May I withdraw my savings after taking a loan?

This depends on the amount of the loan balance. Shares in excess of the loan balance are payable on demand. However, if the loan balance is in excess of shares, then the borrower is pledging all paid shares which he/she may now or hereafter may have in the Credit Union as security for repayment of the loan.

What does it mean if I am requested to guarantee a loan?

In the event of slow or non-repayment of a guaranteed loan by the borrower, the guarantor is responsible for full repayment of the loan, including interest and all associated charges.

Your guarantee extends to any pre-existing loan balance still outstanding, and lasts for as long as the guaranteed loan remains.  You may be freezing some or all of your existing or future savings, and this may also limit your ability to borrow in the future.

It is recommended that any person who is asked to guarantee a loan should seek independent legal advice beforehand.