Monday, 20 January 2020

JOHN’S BLOG – JANUARY 2020

NEW YEAR MONEY GOALS


With the expensive festive season now behind us, it’s time to take a closer look at our finances and make 2020 the year we finally take the stress out of managing our money.

Here at HEY Credit Union, we’ve developed a set of New Year Money Goals to help you get into some good money habits that will really make a difference:

Goal 1 – Become a Member, save regularly and earn your share of our annual Dividend

You may already be one of HEY Credit Union’s 15,000 Members.  If not, it’s easy to join, by going online or visiting one of our branches. There’s no joining fee.


But once a Member, how can you get into the habit of saving regularly?   Here are some quick ideas:
·       Don’t assume that you won’t have enough money left at the end of the week/month to save.  Start off with a really small amount, and then build up later.  The amount doesn’t matter; putting it out of reach does! 
·       Have a goal in mind, a small target that you’ll be able to achieve, to set you going.  It might be tickets for a show, a new outfit or a night away.  Work out how much you need and when. On our HEY Credit Union App there’s a Savings Goal feature.  You can set a goal (££ and time period) and the App lets you see how you are progressing towards it.
·       Put aside a particular coin (such as 5ps, 20ps or £2s) in a jar.  You’ll be amazed how quickly the savings build up.
·       Challenge the family to save with you.  Make it fun – allow a monthly treat!
·       If you know how much you can afford to save, set up a standing order to pay into your CU savings just after you’ve been paid.  If you can’t see the money in your bank, you won’t spend it.
·       Once you’ve achieved your goal, don’t close your account.  Now you’re in the habit, keep on saving for something else.

It’s never too late, or too early, to start saving.  And we’ll reward you with our annual profit-sharing bonus Dividend just before Christmas.  In 2019 we paid out nearly £100,000 to our saver members!

Goal 2 – Save up for Christmas, and earn a Bonus

Christmas can be costly, with lots of spending all at once – presents, festive food and drink, parties and holiday breaks. Wouldn’t it make sense to plan ahead, so that the cost is spread over the full year?


Here at HEYCU, our popular Christmas Saver account offers the ideal way:  
·       You can save as much or as little as you like, but your savings are locked safely away until November!   Dipping in not allowed!  
·       Unlike informal Christmas Clubs (diddlums if you’re from East Yorkshire!), money saved with us is 100% protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
·       Unlike supermarket stamps or hamper clubs, we pay you back direct (to your bank or cash) so you can shop around for bargains.
·       And if you haven’t had one before, we’ll reward you with a Bonus of at least £10* in November for opening a Christmas Saver.     *terms and conditions

Goal 3 – Reduce your outgoings 

New Year is a great time to sit down and take a look at what you’ve got coming in and going out each week or month.   Have you any Direct Debits going out for gym or magazine subscriptions that you no longer use?  Cancel them and save!  


Perhaps you are paying out more than you need to in credit card repayments.  Could you save some money by switching to a Credit Union Loan?    Then you could save the difference into one of our safe savings accounts, enabling you to pay the balance off in full even earlier than you expected!

Why pay out more than you need to?   Book a free money review with our friendly team and we’ll see if we can help.   Remember, all loans are subject to approval and, as a responsible lender, we make a credit history check and only lend what we feel you can afford to repay.

Goal 4 – Make the most of your family income – Our Family Loan & Savings Plan helps you spread those “lumpy costs”

It’s not easy managing your money when you’ve a young family.  You’ll recognise the problem – lots of expenses are sort of “lumpy”, meaning they come all at once in big unhelpful chunks – things like school uniforms, sports kit, school trips and holidays – while your income arrives in fairly regular amounts through the year.   It makes planning and budgeting a nightmare!

That’s why HEY Credit Union introduced our Family Loan & Savings Plan.   By having your Child Benefit paid into a CU Membership Account regularly, you can combine save saving and affordable borrowing to smooth those lumpy costs out across the year.   


You’ll know exactly how much you have left each week or month – for other spending or tucking safely away for Christmas, your family’s future, or just a “rainy day”.  

With our Family Loan & Savings Plan you can borrow £500 and pay back just £12 per week or £50 a month, over one year.   It’s many times cheaper than using doorstep lenders or other high cost credit.  The spare funds can be saved with us or transferred the same day to your bank, as you wish.

Hundreds of members are using this Plan already and many have told us how much it helps them manage their money wisely and takes the stress out of budgeting.  Recently it was featured on BBC Radio 4’s Money Box.  Ask our friendly team – it could help you too.

HEY Credit Union is a not-for-profit financial co-operative, run for the benefit of its members.  We’d love to help you make the most of your money in 2020.   Happy New Year!

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

HEY CU’s Christmas Blog

The most wonderful time of the year is fast approaching, and with it comes presents, clothes, holidays and shopping lists so long you’ll have to check them more than twice! The festive season is the most expensive time of year for most of us, so we at HEY Credit Union have put together a few handy tips to help cut the cost of Christmas this year.

1.    Stick to the budget!
It may seem obvious, but sticking to a set budget is one of the best ways to make sure you don’t overspend this Christmas. Sit down before you start shopping and draw up a list of everything you can think of – including presents, food & drink, clothing, transport, and so on – and the amount you estimate to spend on each. You can then keep track of how much you’re spending on each item, and tick them off the list once purchased. You’ll also be able to see where most of your budget is being spent, and will find it easier to reduce costs where possible.

2.    Beware of Christmas ‘deals’
Retailers know that almost everybody is in shopping mode the closer it gets to December 25th. Almost every advert and email you come across is trying to persuade you to part with your cash in exchange for Christmas gifts, with the promise of discounts and exclusive offers. In recent years, Black Friday and Cyber Monday promise slashed prices, and whilst you may be able to pick up the odd bargain – it’s essential to remember that retailers are trying to get you to spend as much as possible. Beware of overspending on items you don’t need, and be especially careful of Black Friday scams.

3.    Try ‘Secret Santa’
Gifting presents doesn’t have to cost a fortune, and the gifts we remember most are the ones that come from the heart. If you usually have a long list of people to buy for in your family or friendship group, why not try a Secret Santa? Each person gets given their own person to buy for – so you can really think about getting the perfect gift, whilst saving a pretty penny! It all adds to the excitement and thoughtfulness of the holidays.

4.    Take advantage of loyalty schemes
If you shop at a supermarket throughout the year, make sure to take advantage of any bonus or loyalty points you’ve accumulated. All of the major chains provide loyalty schemes to keep customers coming back, and Christmas could be a perfect time to cash in on the purchases you’ve made in the past 12 months. 

5.    Proper preparation
Despite it only being just the one day, we all know preparation for Christmas starts well in advance of the 25thDecember. By making sure you get a head start on the festivities, you can save yourself quite a bit, especially if you’re booking travel over the Christmas period. Trains and flights tend to shoot up in price the nearer to Christmas you go, so try to plan ahead and book as early in advance as possible. 
Whilst planning in advance is a great idea, it’s worth bearing in mind that many retailers drop their prices in the January sales. It could be worth keeping this in mind when shopping, and promising your loved ones their presents after the Christmas rush.

6.     Open one of our Christmas Saver Accounts for 2020!
This year, our members broke records, as they saved a huge £850,000 in this account over the course of 2019! We believe it’s the safest, and biggest, festive savings pot in the whole of the Humber region. By putting away as much or as little as you throughout the year, you can take the financial stress out of Christmas. Get a head start on 2020 and apply for an account today.

As November ends and December begins, here are a few fantastic events to get you in the mood for Christmas 

With a magical Christmas tree, Kids Zone and festive food and drink stalls, you’ll be hard pressed to find anywhere better to kick off the festive season. It’s also walking distance from our Head Office!

Come see us in Driffield Town Centre on Friday 29th November for the Christmas Lights Switch On, and say hello to Penny the Pennywise Penguin!


For one day only on Saturday 14th December, Scunthorpe town centre will be transformed into a winter wonderland with gifts, treats and snacks aplenty on offer.

Take the little ones to see Santa’s Sleigh in all its’ glory this December, as he makes his way around the streets of Bridlington from 1st December.

Wishing everybody a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year, from all of us here at HEY Credit Union.

John
CEO, HEY Credit Union

Monday, 4 November 2019

Johns Blog - October 2019

It’s time to bring you up to date with all that’s been happening at HEY Credit Union during October, so here goes .…

OUR 20TH ANNIVERSARY EVENT IN HULL
As part of our 20th anniversary celebrations we revisited our birthplace – Hull Guildhall – for a special Member Recruitment Day on 19 September.
As it was the monthly Council Meeting, we booked the Reception Room and invited our original members as well as Council Members and Officers to a sponsored afternoon tea.  A display of City of Hull Credit Union memorabilia, and a rolling presentation about the impact we’ve made over the past 20 years, created lots of interest.   
We were thrilled that so many members who work at Hull City Council popped in to see us, including several who’ve been with us from the very beginning, and two of the founder directors!  It was obvious that they were still as enthusiastic as ever about the organisation that they helped to found.  Several Councillors also congratulated us on our achievements and more signed up to join.   
If you work at Hull City Council, you can save and borrow with us using our popular payroll deduction scheme. 

NEW BRANCH AT GOOLE OFFICIALLY OPEN
Thursday 17 October was International Credit Union Day, when events take place in over 100 countries to celebrate the work of credit unions.   It was also the day when the Mayor of Goole, Councillor Josie Head, came to officially open our smart new branch in the town, in the presence of HEY Credit Union directors, staff, Local Members’ Group members and guests.  
The Mayor praised our “Team Goole” for providing such a professional service for local residents, especially at a time when the big banks are reducing their local branch networks.  Our new branch – in the splendid Old Station Hotelbuilding – is ideally placed in the town centre to attract more people to join.  
Do pop in and see us if you live or work in the Goole area; from this week we’ll be open four days a week – Mon, Tue, Thu and Fridays from 10 am to 2 pm.


TEN YEARS OF FAIRBANKING
Recently I was honoured to represent HEY Credit Union at the Houses of Parliament to celebrate the 10th anniversary of The Fairbanking Foundation, a charity dedicated to improving the financial well-being of consumers.
We are proud to be one of 26 credit unions recognised with its highest accolade, the 5 Star Fairbanking Mark, for the way we support our members to afford their lives with responsible Credit Union Loans.
Speakers from the Money and Pension Service, Ipsos Mori and the Association of British Credit Unions paid tribute to the Foundation for highlighting good practice in financial services and we received a cut glass trophy on behalf of the members of HEY Credit Union.  

COULD YOU BE A CU DIRECTOR?
At this time of year, we invite our Members to consider standing for election as one of our 12 Directors.  Being a Credit Union Director is a volunteer role but a very satisfying one, as you are part of a team dedicated to the success of an organisation with fantastic values and ethics.  Because we’re a co-operative, owned by our members, our directors are voted into office by them at the AGM, with four being elected each year.
If this is something that may appeal to you, take a look at our Director role profile hereor pick up the phone to arrange an informal chat with John (CEO) to find out more (01482 778753).   
One of our strengths is that our Credit Union Directors come from all walks of life, you don’t have to be working in the financial services industry to apply, and excellent training and support is provided.   
Nominations for this year’s Board elections close at 6 pm on 25 November. 


CHRISTMAS SAVINGS UNLOCKED!

We are into the busiest season of the Credit Union Year, as members can now withdraw the funds in their Christmas Saver accounts.
This year our amazing members have saved up a record £830,000 while bonuses totaling £3,025, funded by the Stop Loan Sharks Team, have been credited to those eligible.  For many of our members, being able to spread the cost across the year means “Christmas is sorted” and they have peace of mind that their funds are locked away in a completely safe account until the festive season. 
Christmas Savers carry on from one year to the next, so there’s no need to set them up again.  This also means you get a full year to save up.

SUPPORTING OUR FOSTER CARERS
On Friday 1st November we were proud to support Hull City Council’s event at the KCOM Stadium to celebrate the contribution our City’s amazing Foster Carers make to our community. We ran an information stand, showing how families can benefit by joining the Credit Union and provided some goody bags and prizes for the free raffle.  The Foster Carers do some magnificent work helping to nurture the next generation of citizens and well deserved their “thank you” certificates presented by the Lord Mayor.
More Foster Carers are needed all the time and you can find out more about becoming one by clicking here.

RECOMMEND A FRIEND AND WIN £50



 Our Members are very good at spreading the word and encouraging their friends to join the Credit Union Family, so we thought the opportunity to earn a reward would be welcome.
We are therefore inviting Members to Recommend a Friend to apply for a Credit Union Loan.  We’ll enter both the Member and their Friend in a Prize Draw to each win a £50 Shopping Voucher.  Refer a Friend slips are available here or in branch. 
The draw will be made on 20 December.
With Christmas on the way, it’s an ideal time to encourage a friend, family member or workmate to sign up – so let’s get recruiting!

Members – pop this date in your Diary – your AGM will be held on Tuesday 10thDecember in Hull Guildhall at 5.45 pm.  More on this next time!

Thursday, 19 September 2019

JOHN'S BLOG - SEPTEMBER 2019

As summer fades into autumn and Hull Fair Week comes into view, there’s lots going on at HEY Credit Union, so here’s a round-up of our news.…


FRESH NEW LOOK AT HULL CENTRAL
After eight years of pretty intensive daily use, our main city centre branch was looking rather tired and so it was time for a refit.  We’ve made a modest investment in a new welcome desk, consultation pods, new oak flooring and fresh décor.  To complete the new look, we’re planning some historical and modern images of Hull to give a bright and cheerful ambience for members visiting.  

Next time you are in town, do pop in and see us – we hope you’ll like our new look!

GOOLE BRANCH ON THE MOVE
Our popular branch is moving down the street as it marks its 10thanniversary in the town.

We’re relocating from 22 Pasture Road, our home since September 2009, to Unit 6 at the Old Station Hotel, Pasture Road DN14 6BP by Monday 23 September.

I explained to the Goole Times: “We have been very happy at 22 Pasture Road for the past ten years but now it is time for a change.  Our new branch is just down the road from the existing one, closer to the junction with Boothferry Road, but on the opposite side of the road.  It is very easy to see from the town centre and railway station.”

Jo, our Goole Development Officer, and her colleague Jean, have been busy preparing for the move.  Jo said, “Credit unions are owned by their members and we have a Local Members’ Group in Goole which takes a keen interest in promoting the branch.  One of their big concerns this year has been access for people with disabilities, mums with prams and those with limited mobility.  We’ve listened and I think they will be pleased with the result.  We look forward to welcoming members, old and new, to our new branch when it opens.”

WITHERNSEA EXCITED BY OUR PLANS
I was pleased to be invited to speak to a well-attended public meeting in the Shores recently.  We’re partnered with Withernsea Big Localto tackle financial exclusion by providing access to safe savings, affordable credit and sensible money management through expanding our local branch.  In short, making Withernsea a Credit Union Town.

At Big Local’s annual public meeting, Matt Lloyd (Withernsea Credit Union Champion) and I reported that their social investment is already bearing fruit.   So far, we’ve increased staff and volunteer time, established a fully serviced office, more than doubled opening times, made links with community groups, run stalls at events like the Summer Carnival and Withstock (including a notable appearance by Penny the pennywise penguin), and provided a faster easier experience
for our members.  Wow!  In the first six months, we’ve seen active membership in the town grow by 16%, total savings increase by 11% while the loan book has expanded by a whopping 109%.  We reckon that by taking a CU Loan instead of using a doorstep lender, the people of Withernsea are already saving over £25,000 a year in interest charges.  

We’re planning to work with the High School on financial education, and to also open a Local Members’ Group -a forum for members to meet to enjoy fun quizzes and CU games, hear our news and discuss ideas for promoting the branch.   If you live in Withernsea and would like to join, contact Matt (mlloyd@hullandeycu.co.uk).

DRIFFIELD VOLUNTEERS RETIRE
Last Wednesday I attended a pleasant event in Driffield to mark the retirement of three of our longest serving volunteers – Ross Weekes, Liz Weekes and Anne Anderson.  The “intrepid trio” were founder members of Driffield Branch back in 2005 and have done much to support its development, including the highly successful school banks, ever since.   With over 1,000 members and juniors now in Driffield, as the Branch Leader Debbie said, “they have left a strong legacy.” 


OUR CHARITY OF THE YEAR UPDATE
A big thank you to everyone who sponsored Kathryn, Steve and me to do the 20K Hornsea Mere Circular walkback in July. Tying this into our 20thAnniversary, we decided to walk one kilometre for each year of the Credit Union’s life.  Hence, it was an unusual and slightly dizzy experience covering the course twice (a bit like the Grand National?) but we got there, and with your help, raised a tidy £375 for HEY Credit Union’s Charity of the Year – Yorkshire Air Ambulance.



NORTHERN LINCOLNSHIRE PROGRESS
We’ve had a busy summer at Scunthorpe branch too.  We’re working with social landlords Ongo Homes, to promote our services to their tenants and their staff family. Tracey ran an information stall at the Ongo Carnival in August, and then we met with Ongo staff at their new town centre HQ on 9thSeptember to tell them about the well-being benefits of simple saving and affordable credit with HEYCU direct from your pay.

Meanwhile, over at Winterton Patrick has been working hard to establish “Credit Union Wednesday” as part of the local scene. That’s the day when he provides one-to-one sessions at either the Hub or the Cornerstone Café, a contact point in the Co-op store, and a school bank at the Infants & Juniors School.  Thanks to our pro-active partnership with Winterton 2022 Big Local, we’ve enjoyed lots of success, with around 32 school savers, more adults joining and an increasing local loan book.


MPS VISIT CENTRAL OFFICE

You may be forgiven for thinking the life of an MP is endless Brexit these days.  Our Hull MPs Diana Johnson and Karl Turner disproved that when they paid us a fact finding visit in August, as part of our 20thAnniversary celebrations.  After meeting staff and directors for an office tour, we gave a “potted history” and set out our ideal “shopping list” for a future Government.  It included a desire for legal changes to permit credit unions to offer a wider product range (such as credit cards and motor finance), to help more people to benefit from our member-driven not-for-profit services.  We’d also like it to be made mandatory for employers to offer credit union payroll deduction to their staff as a proven financial wellbeing benefit.  

Our MPs showed genuine interest and I am sure it greatly helps them to know about the work of credit unions when consumer finance topics are aired in the House of Commons.  We might even get a mention perhaps in a future parliamentary debate!



CHRISTMAS IS COMING!
We hardly dare mention it but it happens every year! If you need some extra support to cope with festive season financial stress, turn to us.  A Credit Union Christmas Loanspreading the cost over a year is far cheaper than other small loan options including doorstep credit:
Lender

Loan £ over 52 weeks
Repayments per week £
Interest %APR
Total to repay £
Morses Club*
£400
£14.00
272.2%
£728.00
Provident*
£400
£14.40
299.3%
£748.80
Credit Union*
£400
£9.20
42.6%
£477.54
*information taken from websites, correct as at 15.8.19
Remember, you can save with us as you repay, helping you to build up a handy sum for the future.   Our Child Benefit Loan & Savings Plan option offers an ideal way for families to stretch their money further and was mentioned on BBC Radio 4’s MoneyBox programme recently.

Contact us in branch, at www.hullandeycu.co.ukor 01482 778753 to find out more.