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Bolton's credit union turns 30

Bolton's credit union turns 30

A Bolton-based credit union that started out as a way of helping local people become more financially independent is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Hoot, which now has over 6,000 members across Bolton and Bury, started 30 years ago as Johnson Fold Credit Union.

Since then it has made over £10m of low-cost loans to local people and today holds almost £2m in savings. Studies show it also provides £9.5m worth of social value benefits to local communities each year.

Hoot Chief Executive David Batten, pictured, believes recent events have made Hoot and other credit unions as relevant today as they’ve always been.

David, who has led Hoot since 2001, said: “Credit unions are effectively co-operative financial services providers, which means they are owned and controlled by their members. We’re still doing what we’ve always done, which is helping people access financial products in a more ethical and affordable way.

“Over the years we’ve helped thousands of members to get into the habit of saving money so they can get loans that are more affordable. Crucially, this helps people improve their credit score, their financial confidence and sense of wellbeing.

“Following the pandemic, these are difficult times for many people and Hoot remains committed to supporting those who need a bit of help getting their finances on track.”

While being an independent financial services organisation, Hoot works closely with Bolton at Home and supporting the credit union’s services are a key part of Bolton at Home’s strategy to tackle and prevent poverty.

Jon Lord, Group Chief Executive Officer of Bolton at Home, said: “Credit unions can help almost anyone, but they are especially important to those who are at risk of debt and financial exclusion. Hundreds of our tenants have been able to stay out of debt and look forward to a brighter financial future because of support from Hoot.

“A good number of staff also benefit by saving with Hoot through payroll deductions, something that’s open to employers across Bolton. We want to ensure Hoot can be around for many years to come to support local people and communities.”

Johnson Fold Credit Union opened its doors on July 19, 1990, encouraging residents to build up a savings pot and then use those savings as security for borrowing at more affordable rates.

Its success encouraged other credit unions to open in Bolton and Johnson Fold Credit Union later merged with Quids in Credit Union in 2005. The credit union was renamed Hoot in 2009.

You can find out more by visiting Hoot's website at

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Tap4 issues

Tap4 Latest Issue - 4 June 2020:

Click here to read the latest issue of Tap4

Tap4 is our new digital publication for tenants and is released every quarter. It keeps you clued-up on the things we do to build and support our communities, puts a spotlight on the people and organisations that make Bolton brilliant, and is inspired by you.

Past Issues:

Tap4 Issue 3

Tap4 Issue 2

Tap4 Issue 1

Quarter Turn issues

Quarter Turn Issue 5 Thumbnail

Quarter Turn Latest Issue - 13 July 2020:

Quarter Turn issue 5 [pdf] 3MB

Quarter Turn is dedicated to raising awareness of interesting activities, relevant services and inspiring stories from in and around our communities, celebrating those involved in community activities. A new issue is printed and posted every quarter. From April 2020, we've increased the distribution so it now goes to Bolton at Home tenants aged over 70 who live in general let without Careline, as well as to those living in extra care schemes, sheltered housing and in general let with Careline. 

Past Issues:

Quarter Turn issue 4 [pdf] 1MB

Quarter Turn issue 3 [pdf] 2MB

Quarter Turn issue 2 [pdf] 2MB

Quarter Turn issue 1 [pdf] 2MB