A founder member of Shropshire bank Just Credit Union will retire from her role as chair at the forthcoming annual meeting.

Pat Buchanan’s connection with Just Credit Union goes back exactly 20 years when she attended the first public meeting designed to attract people interested in forming a not-for-profit savings and loans co-operative.

“Twenty five of us formed a steering group to set up a credit union and we undertook lots of training to learn the law, management and processes,” Pat recalled.

“A steering group was set up in 1999, but we weren’t able to start trading as Just Credit Union Ltd until October 2001. As part of the preparation I was running a savings club in Ludlow.

“The credit union started with 50 members initially and this has grown to having more than 4,000 on the books.  It has lent over £13m since it began and currently has £1.7m out on loan and £2.5m in members’ savings.

Pat, 72, spent time training volunteers from all over the county and established an accredited exam for understanding the credit union and its procedures.  More than 60 volunteers across the county were trained over two years.

She served as secretary for 12 months prior to becoming a director and chair four years ago.

Said Pat: “The most satisfying thing is we started an ethical financial service from nothing and we now deliver these ethical financial services to people including many who are on low incomes and benefits, helping them to manage their money well.

“That has given me the greatest satisfaction. I am very proud of what we have achieved and I will continue to be committed to the credit union movement.

“Technology will make us more accessible, particularly because we are investing in new software.”

Just Credit Union’s annual meeting on March 20 will be Pat’s final duty before stepping down to enjoy travelling with a great desire to visit Eastern Europe.

All members are invited to mark Pat’s retirement and learn more about Just Credit Union’s record year at the annual meeting on March 20.

The meeting, at The Shirehall, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury, starts at 6.00 pm and there will be free refreshments afterwards.  Replies by March 15 to info@justcreditunion.org