§ Mr. Pearson
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the length of time taken currently, from the initial application, for credit unions to be registered under the Credit Unions Act 1979; and what estimate he has made of the length of time which will be taken under the Act as amended by the Deregulation (Credit Unions) Order 1996. 
§ Mrs. Angela Knight
The time taken for a credit union to be registered depends largely on how soon its committee members undergo training and set up the systems needed to run its operations. The deregulation order will not reduce that, though it will cut down the amount of work involved in determining the existence of a common bond among the members. However, as this normally takes place concurrently with other activities, it is unlikely to reduce the overall time taken for registration.
§ Mr. Pearson
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what criteria the Registry of Friendly Societies will use to assess the status of credit unions wishing to register under the Credit Union Act 1979 as amended by the Deregulation (Credit Unions) Order 1996. 
§ Mrs. Knight
To be registered a credit union must satisfy the registry that its objectives are the promotion of thrift among members, and the provision of credit at a fair rate of interest; that a common bond exists between members; that it is complying with statutory provisions for rules and insurance against fraud; and that its officers have received appropriate training.
The Deregulation (Credit Unions) Order 1996 will not change the assessment criteria used by the registry, but will allow greater flexibility in establishing a common bond. A guidance note for new credit unions is given to those seeking to start a credit union, and I have placed a copy in the Library.