In my last blog, I was cheerily looking forward to the brighter days of spring and summer, with all the outdoor activities and events they bring. Whatever happened?
WHAT A YEAR!
2020 has turned out to be a year like no other. The Covid-19 pandemic has challenged us all like never before and, for many, turned the world upside down. To our members, we sincerely hope you have kept safe and coped as well as possible with life under lockdown. We’ve been thinking of you and your loved ones and want you to know that we are still here to support you.
We are all so grateful to
the many NHS workers, carers, other key workers and community volunteers who
have gone “above and beyond” to look after us and provide those shielding and
self-isolating with friendly contact and access to essential supplies. Let’s
hope the crisis prompts a rethink of our national priorities, so that those who
serve in such vital ways are properly valued and rewarded.
Credit Unions were classed as providing “essential financial services” and your directors, managers and staff have all been 100% focused on maintaining the friendly, reliable service members are used to. We’ve changed lots of ways we work, switched more to online and telephone working, brought in new electronic systems and even introduced a special Key Worker Loan deal with preferential rate.
We would like to thank our local authorities for their business support and Fair4All Finance who generously opened their Covid-19 Resilience Fund, our trade association ABCUL for providing ready advice and learning opportunities, and our financial regulators for their understanding.
OUR VIRTUAL BOARD
During lockdown our directors were unable to meet face-to-face. But their important oversight and governance was still needed. So technology came to our aid and May’s Board meeting - our first by video conference* using GotoMeeting - was one of our best ever, with plenty of lively discussions and thoughtful questions. While directors will want to meet up now and then, virtual meetings could help to bring in new directors from the far reaches of our region, knowing they can play their part effectively without excessive travel.
(* previously Skype allowed directors to join us from holiday venues when necessary).
Having done our risk assessment and put in place measures to protect our members and staff team, we were delighted to reopen Hull, Bridlington, Goole and Scunthorpe branches from Monday 15 June. We hope members will understand why branch life isn’t quite like before:
- Opening times are restricted;
- Only one member can come in at a time (or same family group);
- Cash transaction are limited to £100 per day (no coins);
- Loan forms can be collected but not completed in branch;
- Hand sanitiser is available for and we are cleaning throughout the day.
We are planning to reopen Withernsea branch on Monday 6th July.
We’re also planning to restart our Local Member Groups very soon, but meeting in a different way! Watch for news.
OUR 21ST ANNIVERSARY
HEY Credit Union turned 21 on the 10th June 2020. A big birthday celebration, like last year’s, just wasn’t possible. Instead we ran four prize draws on our social media which generated hundreds of entries. For those of us who’ve been with HEY for many years and seen at first hand both its growing pains and achievements, anniversaries provide an opportunity to reflect on the impact made. Did you know, that since we began:
- We’ve issued 59,290 loans value £40,977,142;
- We’ve helped people in our Region save well over £20 million in interest payments;
- We’ve shared £1.1 million with our members as Dividend on their savings;
- We’ve partnered with lots of employers to offer a valued Payroll Save & Borrow staff benefit;
- We’ve created 22 jobs for local people and given 100+ life skills through volunteering.
IT’S CO-OPERATIVES FORTNIGHT
From 22 June to 5 July, Co-operatives Fortnight is our chance to celebrate being part of the UK’s co-op sector. Owned and run by their members, co-ops don’t exist to make money for institutional investors or distant shareholders, but to serve people like you and me – customers, employees, residents, farmers, artists, taxi drivers, credit union savers and borrowers. By coming together in co-ops, members can influence the way business is done, making sure the ethics they hold dear are upheld.
The latest Co-op Economy report reveals that:
- HEY Credit Union is one of 7,063 independent co-operatives, across the UK.
- Together they employ 241,714 people, have over 14 million members and contribute £38.2 billion a year to the British economy.
- 76% of co-op start-ups are still flourishing after the difficult first five years. But just 42% of new companies make it through to the end of year five.
Wouldn’t it be great if co-operative values were applied to more areas of national life? By supporting and getting involved in co-ops we can all help to make the case.
SUPPORTING OUR ARMED FORCES COMMUNITY
Our Board of Directors recently agreed to HEY Credit Union becoming a signatory to the Armed Forces Covenant. This is a promise made by employers and others to support the Armed Forces Community, recognising the value serving personnel, both regular and reservists, veterans and military families contribute to our country.
On 24 June, during Armed Forces Week, we joined in a virtual signing ceremony, making our pledge along with four other organisations in the Yorkshire and the Humber Region.
In more normal times we hope to have a presence at Armed Forces Day events and to support the proposed new Hull Veterans’ Village by providing a volunteer-run Credit Union contact point on site for residents.
We’ve been thrilled with the kind feedback that we’ve received recently on Trust Pilot, Google and Facebook. We’d like to encourage all members to consider posting a review when we have given good service, as this is a great way to encourage more to join.
And do watch out for our annual Member Survey – coming to your inbox very soon. We’ll be asking you to comment on our services and also share your thoughts on the way forward, in light of Covid-19. Please do take a few minutes to respond.
CLOSURE OF OLD MEMBER LOG IN AREA
Now that our Web App is running smoothly (around 4,000 members are registered and use it), we have no use for the old Member Log in Area on our website. The Web App gives much more timely information about members’ accounts and has more features, including the ability to send funds transfers (except for Community Accounts). We are therefore closing the old Member Area from the end of June.
If you haven’t already registered for the Web App, here’s how.
If you have any problems getting started, just call us on 01482 778753 (Mon-Fri 10-4).
Until next time, keep safe everyone and be kind to one another...