How it all started!

Voyager Alliance founder, Martin Logan, grew up in Dublin. On his way to the shops in the early 1970s, he would walk by ‘an ordinary terraced house’, with a sign on the side saying ‘Sundrive Credit Union’. “One day, curiosity got the better of me, so I went into the house to find out more, and discovered I could save with them” said Martin. “At that point, I had no bank account, with what little savings I had in my piggy bank at home!”

Martin opened an account with Sundrive Credit Union, now part of Dublin’s Capital Credit Union ( not knowing at the time that this would be the start of a lifelong association with the credit union movement. In 1975, Martin moved to Manchester with the help of a credit union loan, and in 1977 he started working for Greater Manchester Buses.

 “In 1988 I was working at the Princess Road Bus Depot in Manchester, and knew the Union Rep, Iain McLean”, continues Martin. “It was a recession, interest rates at the time were 13% and many bus drivers were struggling financially. We were discussing the situation and I remember saying ‘Would a Credit Union help?’ No one knew what a credit union was, of course, but I decided to investigate the possibility of starting a credit union for our colleagues.”

Martin started research, contacted ABCUL, the Association of British Credit Unions, and joined the Greater Manchester Chapter of Credit Unions. Iain gathered together other likeminded employees and provided early Management contacts. “Without Iain’s initial help and support via the local T&GWU 6/52 Branch, my idea would never have got off the ground” remembers Martin. He continues, “my wife, Winifride, borrowed a typewriter from work, and we put together Newsletters and posters to distribute around the depot and arranged meetings to see if there was a need amongst colleagues”.

It took nearly 4 years to get the Management to agree for the credit union to be set up. When finally given the go ahead the Depot Managing Director said to Martin, “we put every obstacle in the way, but you just beat us down!”  “It was our belief in the credit union, we were passionate about how it could improve people’s lives and were here for the long term” remembers Martin.

Official registration was finally received on 5th March 1992, but to save having to submit a quarterly return for the period to 31st March, they didn’t start operating until 1st April 1992.  “In our Business Plan, we optimistically predicted 300 members within 3 years” said Martin, “but we actually had 899 members by 30th September 1992.” Word spread, and membership was quickly extended to all the Greater Manchester bus depots.

When a credit union starts, it can’t offer loans until it has built up a ‘savings pool’ which can take many months.  However, the popularity of The Greater Manchester Buses Ltd Employees Credit Union Limited meant that their first loan was actually issued after just 6 weeks! “Our first loan was to a lad called Ossie, to go home to the West Indies for his mother’s funeral” remembers Martin proudly.

Following changes within the bus industry, the credit union’s name was changed in January 1994 to The Voyager Credit Union of Greater Manchester Limited and then to Voyager Credit Union Limited in November 1995, when some members were moving out of the Greater Manchester area. In February 2007 Voyager merged with Merseyside’s Alliance Credit Union, to become Voyager Alliance Credit Union, the name still going strong today! In September 2008, Wayfarer Credit Union joined, and in 2018, Retail Credit Union also became part of Voyager Alliance.

Thanks to Martin’s dedication to help colleagues in the late 1980s, Voyager Alliance has gone on to help thousands of members across the UK.  In February 2022, Voyager Alliance officially became part of the Penny Post Group.  “Our members future is in safe hands” says Martin, and we’re all looking forward to a bright future ahead.  Here’s to our next 30 years, and beyond!

1st Publicity Poster

1st Newsletter

Find out more…